French businesses crack down on climate change

PARIS – French businesses are taking matters into their own hands ahead of the Paris climate summit (COP21) that opens here on Sunday.

Thirty-nine companies, including Kering, L’Oréal, Carrefour and the Airports of Paris, have pledged to invest at least 45 billion euros, or $47.8 billion at current exchange, between 2016 and 2020 to fund industrial projects along with research and development devoted to renewable energy, energy efficiency and carbon reducing technologies.

Over the same period, the group of business, which employs a total workforce of 4.4 million people and generates 1,200 billion euros, or $1,275 billion, in sales, has also vowed to provide bank and bond financing of at least 80 billion euros, or $85 billion, for projects contributing to the fight against climate change.

Another 15 billion euros, $15.9 billion, are to be invested in new nuclear capacities, which are considered low carbon, while 30 billion euros, or $31.9 billion, are to go into natural gas as a transitional solution, planned over the next five years.

COP21 is to unite 195 nations and negotiate binding agreements between them to curb greenhouse gas emissions, which are seen as the main driver behind climate change and global warming. Financing the initiatives is regarded as the main obstacle.

By signing the climate pledge, the group of French businesses said it wants “to contribute to making COP21 a success and to limiting the warming of the earth to 2 degrees Celsius,” which is considered to be a crucial threshold.

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