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Last Updated: Wednesday, 5 October 2005, 07:53 GMT 08:53 UK
Ministers set for climate talks
Margaret Beckett MP
Margaret Beckett will address business leaders at the conference
British business leaders are due to meet senior ministers in a bid to refine Britain's strategy on reducing emissions of greenhouse gases.

The heads of top companies want clear targets to cut emissions, but small firms believe such targets could be a burden to them.

The government says it is taking a "leading role" in cutting emissions.

Environment Secretary Margaret Beckett and CBI president John Sunderland are due to speak at the conference.

If the government would give a very clear signal, I'm sure businesses would move very quickly indeed
Lord Oxburgh
Shell
The event, which will take place on Wednesday and Thursday in London, has been organised by Defra and the DTI and is supported by the Climate Group and UK Trade and Investment.

It will look at the outcomes of climate change events throughout 2005, including the G8 Summit, and explain their implications for businesses.

Trade and Industry Secretary Alan Johnson will also address the conference.

He told BBC News, "everywhere we go around the world, environmentalists are delighted" with the British government's record on combating climate change.

Investment strategy

Lord Browne, BP chief executive, and Sir John Bond, HSBC chairman, will both speak on business leadership on climate change.

We need the domestic consumer in this country to stop being hypocritical and get out their wallets
Digby Jones, CBI
Many larger firms are thought to back a stronger government policy on climate and are particularly keen for ministers to establish targets and timetables for future CO2 cuts.

This would enable such businesses to plan their investment strategy.

Lord Oxburgh, a chairman of Shell, told BBC environment correspondent Roger Harrabin that big business was prepared to take action.

"If the government would give a very clear signal that everyone would have to [cut emissions], I'm sure businesses would move very quickly indeed," he said.

But Digby Jones, director general of the CBI, said there would be very little progress on climate change until everyone agreed on the action that needed to be taken.

"We need a European Union that stops cheating on it, we need an America that comes to the party and we need the domestic consumer in this country to stop being hypocritical and get out their wallets," he said.

A recent Mori survey found around a half of small firms think climate change is nothing to do with their business.


SEE ALSO:
Cities swap expertise on climate
04 Oct 05 |  Science/Nature
Climate to increase British flies
03 Oct 05 |  Science/Nature
Arctic ice 'disappearing quickly'
28 Sep 05 |  Science/Nature
UK 'needs yearly climate updates'
26 Sep 05 |  Science/Nature


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