Government of France


Laurence Tubiana: Progressive businesses are showing low carbon economy transition is underway

11 July 2016

Laurence Tubiana, Special Representative for COP21, Government of France

LONDON: “Progressive businesses” are crucial in the fight against climate change because they can “give governments the confidence they can go forward, that there are solutions and that a sound investment plan will be well received by the business community,” says Laurence Tubiana, Special Representative for COP21, Government of France, in an exclusive Climate TV interview.

Speaking at the Business & Climate Summit, brought to you by The Climate Group, Laurence Tubiana – who was one of the ‘architects’ of the climate Paris Agreement reached at COP21 last December – explains the fundamental role businesses and sub-national governments played in shaping that historic agreement.

In Paris, the vision was “to have a business sector sharing the objective of Paris,” she says, “not asking for a specific provision but really having the demand for the agreement.” In fact, COP21 “was conceived as a strategy of making expectations converge,” where all the actors in the climate landscape would demonstrate “that this low carbon economy transition is underway.”

The Climate Group’s Climate Week NYC 2015 was pivotal in showcasing the business case for climate action and the engagement driven by local governments – which helped determine an ambitious climate text in Paris later that year.


“For the first time in a legal text, we had the recognition of the contribution of the non-state actors – business and local authorities in particular,” continues Laurence Tubiana. “Now we have a space where we can organize this more formal dialogue between businesses and governments.”

It is therefore important to host “these Business & Climate Summits as a regular event, communicating to the governments what the state of mind, the judgement and the key messages are from this community,” so to pitch them back to national governments and feed the formal process.

However, this is only one way to achieve the bold climate goals of the Paris Agreement. “I have been insisting all along,” says Laurence Tubiana, “now we have a crucial task to implement, which is to translate these Nationally Determined Contributions into policy frameworks – and investment plans and projects.”


Businesses and investors must help deliver our low carbon future, and they should do so even before 2020 – when the Paris Agreement will enter into force – and respond to clear government plans. The next global climate talks, COP22 in Marrakesh, will be “a sort of incipient platform where you have all the actors together to do so,” continues Laurence Tubiana.

While the next five years will be key to ensure the Paris Agreement will be implemented and even improved in its ambitions to keep global warming well below the 2 degree Celsius target, we must continue looking at governments’ mid-century strategies, says Laurence Tubiana.

COP22 will invite “governments to present them consistent to the global goal, and I think that’s good to have the businesses and the local authorities doing the same.”

Therefore, at COP22 in Marrakesh we must “start the process […] that a number of countries commit to deliver their mid-century strategies by 2018,” concludes Laurence Tubiana, “together with businesses, together with local authorities. And this will give a view of what are the judgements, the expectations, the visions that could make it happen; that we have the global goal there and that we can implement it.”

Laurence Tubiana, Special Representative for COP21, Government of France