Business leaders call for net-zero emissions goal

An international group of business leaders headed by mogul Richard Branson is calling for a goal of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions worldwide by 2050.

Branson, founder of the Virgin Group, called for the ambitious goal in advance of next week’s meeting in Switzerland of international leaders trying to write a global agreement to fight climate change.

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He was joined by a small club he leads called the B Team, which includes business leaders like Arianna Huffington, Indian businessman Ratan Tata and Unilever chief Paul Polman.

“The B Team Leaders believe that by committing to net-zero greenhouse-gas emissions by 2050, governments will demonstrate they are unequivocally setting the world on a clear, low-carbon trajectory,” the group wrote in a Thursday blog post.

“Businesses will respond by embedding bold climate action into their strategies — unleashing innovation, driving investment in clean energy, scaling-up low carbons solutions, creating jobs and supporting economic growth.”

For net-zero emissions, the world would have to reduce its pollution dramatically and offset any remaining greenhouse gases with actions that absorb emissions, like planting trees and capturing carbon.

The Group of Eight, made up of the richest world economies, has already pledged to cut greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent by 2050.

“Taking bold action on climate change simply makes good business sense,” Branson wrote in his own blog. “It’s also the right thing to do for people and the planet. Setting a net-zero GHG emissions target by 2050 will drive innovation, grow jobs, build prosperity and secure a better world for what will soon be 9 billion people. Why would we wait any longer to do that?”