Firms urged to back climate efforts
Manama, November 10, 2007
Bahrain companies and civil societies must look at ways they can support government efforts to combat climate change, according to a top environmentalist.
Businesses have a powerful role to play in influencing the political pace for action, said British Embassy environmental attache Dan Hamza-Goodacre.
"Climate change must be a partnership between government, businesses and civil societies. Governments alone don't have all the answers and businesses shouldn't wait for the government to act before they do anything," he said.
"And there are rewards for addressing climate change and this is becoming clear to businesses.
"Addressing climate change makes good business sense. Climate change is not an add-on to your business, or a matter of corporate social responsibility - it affects your business and it is in your financial self-interest to address climate change seriously."
Bahrain's contribution to global carbon emissions is less than one per cent but it is the sixth highest emitter per capita in the world, noted the environmentalist.
The embassy official said inaction on climate change was no longer an option for businesses because inevitably they would be affected.
Quoting the Stern Review of October 2006, Hamza-Goodacre said the costs of inaction on climate change significantly outweighed the expected costs of co-ordinated global action.
Without efforts to tackle climate change it could cost the global economy between five to 20 per cent of the gross domestic product (GDP) now and forever, compared to much lower estimated costs of global action of around one per cent of the GDP by 2050, with a range of plus or minus three per cent, he noted.
"In Bahrain there is a generic risk to businesses, there will be price shocks as carbon gets more expensive," said the environmentalist.
"There will be impact shocks that will come from the direct effects of climate change, and this will have an effect on water supplies, insurance premiums and damage to property with floods and so on.
"There will be policy shocks as regulations tighten up, incentives are adjusted and notions of corporate accountability are re-set, as we are seeing in the UK now."
Despite the risks, climate change also presents businesses opportunities in the global market, noted Hamza-Goodacre.
He said according to the International Energy Agency, the world market for environmental goods and services is projected to grow from $548 billion in 2004 to $688 billion by 2010 and $800 billion by 2015.
The total investment in the energy sector to 2030 will reach $20 trillion, he noted.
Hamza-Goodacre was speaking on Climate Change and Business Opportunities and Risks at the Bahrain British Business Forum's (BBBF) monthly lunch at Golden Tulip Hotel.
British Deputy Ambassador Steve Harrison and BBBF chairman Austin Rudman were among those at the event. - TradeArabia News Service