Global businesses prize solutions over targets ahead of Cop28

The pledge 'Keeping 1.5°C Alive' has fallen down list of priorities, new research finds

COP28 is being held in Dubai. Victor Besa / The National
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Almost one third of the world's large corporations are keen to seen the role of the private sector prioritised at November's Cop28 summit in a survey that placed strong emphasis on solutions-driven responses to the climate crisis.

The poll found that engaging the private sector was viewed as a top priority for Cop28, while reforming climate finance and clean tech innovation came second and third.

The categories of biodiversity, inclusion and the 1.5C target for capping warming were placed lower in the poll of priorities.

More than half of the 100 companies in the study said business needed a "stronger voice" when it comes to measures aimed at tackling climate change.

The research, conducted by the financial research firm East and Partners and the communications consultancy Impact and Influence, illustrates a lack of confidence among global corporation on the ability to stay below the Paris Agreement target figure.

With exactly six months to go before the Cop28 UN climate summit in Dubai, research shows the "Keep 1.5ºC Alive" pledge from Cop26 in Glasgow is now at the bottom of the list of desired outcomes for companies planning to attend Cop28.

Private sector engagement

“This research – the first of its kind – reveals businesses want a seat at the table at Cop28 to put their shoulder to the wheel to solve the escalating climate crisis. At the moment, business leaders feel side-lined in the climate discussions," said Paul Dowling, co-founder and principal analyst of East and Partners.

“This year's Cop28 organisers would be wise to bring them to the table, not only to boost confidence in the process but also to harness the immense resources and innovation that the private sector can bring to the fight against climate change."

Pledges such as the"Keep 1.5ºC Alive" from Cop26 are at the bottom of the list of desired outcomes for global business. AP

'Weak pulse'

Last week research from the World Meteorological Organisation found there was a 66 per cent likelihood of exceeding the 1.5ºC threshold in at least one year between 2023 and 2027.

The secretary general of the WMO, Prof Petteri Taalas, pointed out that the research didn't mean that "we will permanently exceed the 1.5ºC specified in the Paris agreement, which refers to long-term warming over many years.

"However, the WMO is sounding the alarm that we will breach the 1.5ºC level on a temporary basis with increasing frequency.”

Rishi Bhattacharya, chief executive and founder of Impact and Influence, said 'Keeping 1.5 ºC Alive' attracted surprisingly low interest among global corporates.

"This suggests they may be pricing in an overshoot," he said "It is more important than ever to communicate the need for business to be part of the solution.

"With Cop28 in Dubai approaching, ensuring business involvement in the climate conversation is more crucial than ever, as their participation increases the likelihood of success in addressing climate change.”

The research by East and Partners and Impact and Influence involved interviews conducted with 1,308 corporations across 14 countries.

Updated: May 30, 2023, 3:12 AM