LONDON - Eighty British businesses urged the government on Wednesday to take decisive action to fight climate change and build a low-carbon economy in a letter to Prime Minster David Cameron.
The companies called for a global climate deal this year which limits the world temperature rise to below 2 degrees Celsius.
On a domestic level, they urged the government to set an ambitious fifth carbon budget from 2028-2032 - to set targets for CO2 emissions cuts - and to bring in clearer long-term policies that encourage investment in low-carbon energy.
They did not specify what policies they wanted to be introduced. "We want this economy to be energy efficient and low-carbon.
Failure to tackle climate change could put economic prosperity at risk. But the right action now would create jobs and boost competitiveness," they said in the open letter.
Signatories include energy companies E.ON, SSE and Scottish Power; retailers John Lewis Partnership, Tesco and Marks & Spencer ; telecoms company BT ; media group Sky ; drinks makers Diageo and Coca-Cola and construction firms Saint-Gobain and Willmott Dixon.
Britain aims to reduce its emissions by at least 80 per cent by 2050 from 1990 levels. To ensure progress towards this goal, it has set four carbon budgets, covering up to 2027, which set interim targets for emission cuts.
On Monday, leaders of the Group of Seven (G7) countries backed a global target for limiting the rise in average global temperatures to below 2C, which should help progress towards a climate deal in Paris in December.
However, government promises so far for curbs on greenhouse gas emissions are unlikely to be enough to keep temperatures below that ceiling.