Global Business Organizations Call for Greater Role in Climate Negotiations

Press Release
September 22, 2009

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Leaders of the world’s top business organizations representing five continents and more than 25 million companies today committed to exercising a leadership role in tackling climate change and contributing to a new international climate change agreement in Copenhagen in December.

In a joint statement issued at the conclusion of the two-day Major Economies Forum on Energy Security and Climate Change held at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, business organizations highlighted their willingness to play a constructive role at Copenhagen and beyond.  The declaration states that “the business community stands ready to continue engagement with policymakers and continue investments that contribute to low-carbon and energy-efficient economies.” 

Business groups from Australia, Brazil, Canada, Europe, India, Japan, and Kenya as well as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Institute for 21 Century Energy and U.S. Council on International Business signed the joint declaration.

“An international agreement on climate change will require not only the cooperation of the developed and developing world, but also the full-scale engagement of the global business community,” said Karen Harbert, president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber’s Institute for 21st Century Energy.  “The involvement of the business community in U.N. climate negotiations can only lead to a more successful and realistic agreement, since the private sector already has experience and expertise in developing technologies that reduce emissions.”

The declaration highlighted areas of agreement among the business community worldwide on topics such as economic development, energy security and efficiency, technology, finance, and adaptation. 

The leaders agreed that international climate change negotiations should not be used to erect barriers to free and open trade and investment.  The declaration notes development of climate-friendly technologies can best progress under policies that promote competition and respect intellectual property rights and that “technology cooperation, public-private partnerships, innovative financing, and capacity building” are all needed to facilitate technology transfer and commerce in developing and developed countries.

Business leaders also called for finance ministries to be more directly involved in climate negotiations.  While acknowledging that public financing is critical to making new technology more accessible in developing countries, the leaders point out that “it is no substitute for private sector capital investments,” which depends largely on a nation’s investment environment.

Finally, the group agreed to continue the Major Economies Business Forum on Energy Security and Climate Change with future meetings in order to identify areas of shared understanding and provide valuable and practical input to the international negotiations.  The full statement is available on the Institute’s website at       The mission of the U.S. Chamber’s Institute for 21st Century Energy is to unify policymakers, regulators, business leaders, and the American public behind a common sense energy strategy to help keep America secure, prosperous, and clean. Through policy development, education, and advocacy, the Institute is building support for meaningful action at the local, state, national, and international levels.

The U.S. Chamber is the world's largest business federation representing more than 3 million businesses and organizations of every size, sector, and region.  Through its Institute for 21st Century Energy, Global Intellectual Property Center, and International Division, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is actively raising awareness of the business community’s views on elements of an international climate change agreement.            # # #