Finance Finance News Deal with climate change, say big corporations

Deal with climate change, say big corporations

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Eight of Australia’s biggest companies have signed a statement pledging to support the effort to keep global warming below 2 degrees celsius.

The statement, signed by the likes of BHP Billiton, Wesfarmers, Santos and Westpac, said Australia “needs to play its fair part in global action” on climate change.

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However, beyond support for keeping temperature rises below 2 per cent, the statement had no suggestions on how to do it.

In particular, it did not express a preference for direct action or emissions trading schemes.

“We represent a diverse group of companies from the energy, resources, retail, infrastructure, technology, consumer goods, property, services, banking and finance sectors,” the statement read.

“Together we employ over 620,000 people across 175 countries. Between us we provide products and services to the majority of Australians. We also emit around 12 per cent of Australia’s national greenhouse gas emissions.

“We have come together because we acknowledge that climate change will continue to have serious implications for our customers, the community and the economy. These are risks we need to manage.

“Investing in Australia’s response to climate change will deliver significant economic, social and environmental benefits for us all.”

The statement was signed by the chief executives of AGL, GE Australia, Mirvac and Unilever Australia, as well as the four companies listed above.

The move came a day after Malcolm Turnbull was sworn in as Australian Prime Minister, following the ousting of Tony Abbott.

Unlike Mr Abbott, Mr Turnbull has in the past been a strong advocate of emissions trading schemes. Many expect him to take a more aggressive stance on climate change.

However, in his first statement as PM he pledged to take the Abbott government’s emissions reduction target to Paris in December.

The target has been criticised for being unambitious in comparison to the targets of comparable economies.

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