By Evelyn Neumayr-Oracle on Nov 30, 2015
By Elena Avesani, Principal Strategy Manager, Oracle
Today world leaders converge in Paris for the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP21), an annual meeting of 195 nations that make up the United Nations Framework on Climate Change (UNFCC), with the first meeting occurring in Berlin in 1995.
The goal is to achieve a legally binding agreement by national governments towards substantial reductions in greenhouse gas emissions in order to prevent the planet’s temperature from increasing by 2°C above pre-industrial levels. Major world leaders, including U.S. President Barack Obama, Chinese President Xi Jinping and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi – the three countries with the largest carbon emissions – will be present for the beginning of the talks.
Businesses are eagerly looking at the outcome of these talks, pleading for clarity on issues such as carbon pricing and supply chain sourcing. A crisp policy framework would formalize many of the voluntary actions that businesses have already taken on environmental sustainability and would translate into more certainty for their investment. Carbon markets are already active in 40 countries and more than 20 cities and regions. Approximately 15 percent of the S&P 500 factor in a price on carbon when undertaking investment appraisal.
In addition to establishing the collective goal to decarbonize the global economy by reaching net zero emissions this century, a chief political result would be bringing governments to update their commitments every five years and to provide a regulatory environment that encourages businesses to innovate through new low-carbon technologies.
For more information about the upcoming climate talks see the interactive guide issued by the UNFCC that seeks to explain the big issues behind COP21.
 Trends in Private Sector Climate Finance, Climate Change Support Team (CCST), UN Secretary General, Oct 2015