Corporate Leaders Slow to Respond to IPCC Global Warming Report

by | Feb 2, 2007

The 113 scientists on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change issued their report (PDF summary for policymakers)today which states that it is “very likely” (90 percent certainty) that global warming is man-made and that it will worsen for centuries, no mater what kind of pollution controls are now put in place.

By 2100, temperatures are likely to rise by  2-11.5 degrees Fahrenheit and sea-level will rise seven to 23 inches.

Heat waves, tropical storms, and hurricanes are likely to become more intense, more frequent and longer-lasting, according to the panel.

Overall, businesses have been slow to line up for or against the report. Especially considering the noise in the weeks leading up to its release.

DuPont issued a press release this morning. “Climate change is a serious global issue that must be addressed through concerted global action,” said DuPont vice president and chief sustainability officer Linda Fisher. “We believe that the science on climate change is sufficiently strong and the risks serious enough to merit a timely action.”

DuPont is a member of the United States Climate Action Partnership, which is calling for a firm nationwide limit on carbon dioxide emissions that would lead to reductions of 10 to 30 percent over the next 15 years. 

“DuPont believes that a well-constructed federal policy that relies on market-based mechanisms will give businesses the regulatory certainty needed to make investment and planning decisions,” Fisher said. “We think that it is imperative for business to be involved in the policy debate.”

“We believe this report will be very helpful in establishing climate change at the top of the (global political) agenda,” Ivo Menzinger, head of sustainability and emerging risks at Swiss Re, told journalists in a telephone briefing, according to Reuters. For insurers, who invest huge sums in conducting their own research into climate change, the report’s findings came as no surprise, the article states.

Pat Clearly, senior vice president, communications, National Association of Manufacturers, wrote in a blog post this morning that “This is all fine and good, but you gotta wonder how on earth they explain past warming periods that far pre-date the internal combustion engine? Had the IPCC been around then, what would they have said – that it was caused by the mere threat of such devices?”

“Companies should consider the direct impacts a changing climate will have on their operations, as well as potential regulations imposed by government,” according to a  Lehman Brothers Holdings report, The Business of Climate Change, issued earlier in the week, Bloomberg reports.

“What effect do higher sea level, more frequent bad weather, storm surges, reduced rainfall in some regions, increased rainfall in others, have?” the report’s author, John Llewellyn, senior economic policy adviser at Lehman, said in a telephone interview. “What does it mean for the types of product that will be demanded; what does it mean for the sorts of places where you should be producing; the sorts of places that you should be sourcing materials from?”

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