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On Friday, September 20th, thousands of people poured through the streets of capitals and major cities all over the world to march for climate change. Over 150 counties held climate strikes organized by youth advocates and had participants of all ages. The climate strikes attracted the media and have caused numerous political and business leaders to promise change.

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As climate change increasingly becomes a bigger issue, investors and companies are looking for ways to minimize their environmental impact with regards to greenhouse-gas emissions. Investors such as Aviva Investors and Aegon Asset Management are encouraging restaurants and food companies to reduce their carbon footprint and redefine their supply chain to be more environmentally friendly. Especially in the United States, this is a controversial period for this issue. Analysts are expecting climate change to be a key issue in the United States 2020 presidential election. It will be a tough negotiating point between all parties involved.

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Research in climate change suggests that even an incremental increase in average global temperatures can trigger disastrous effects around the world. Although efforts are being made to curb carbon dioxide emissions and sustain stable environments, climate scientists warn that “there will still be consequences" if more drastic actions are not taken. Global businesses that depend on vast energy usage are now paying attention to new corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives.

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Climate change has become a prominent issue within the past few decades. To stay in tune with global efforts to improve global climate, several nations have committed to the terms of the Paris Climate Agreement, a multinational deal made with the United Nations to curb worldwide carbon emissions. According to the New York Times, many "countries and businesses all over the world [have] already made advances based on the agreement," including rich and poor nations alike. The world's largest emitter of greenhouse gases, China, remains fully "committed in the fight against climate change and to participating in international efforts for a greener world." Brussels and Beijing have been cooperating in order to move forward together with the agreement, and India has pledged its commitment as well.

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Over the past few decades, the global agriculture industry has been forced to adjust to sweeping societal changes, including booming population growth, increasing urbanization, decreasing rural populations, and a steep decline in the number of farmers. The industry has been able to shift in certain ways in order to face these challenges—technological incorporation, increased production efficiency, and a focus on mass industrial output. However, the escalating symptoms of climate change are impacting agriculture on a much more devastating scale. Crop harvesting, fertilization, irrigation, and food production are all hit by the effects of climate change, affecting the living standards of populations the world over.

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In this installment of the globalEDGE Mega Trends in Business series, we take a look at how global businesses are responding to climate change. Day by day, governments the world over are increasing collaborative efforts against climate change by solidifying various international deals and agreements. With this, regulatory pressure is mounting on multinational companies to ensure that their practices meet environmentally-friendly standards. Several firms are answering the call and taking active stands against the threat of climate change, framing it as a business issue as well as an environmental one. Some corporations are forming coalitions across countries to reach a common consensus on necessary action. Others are shifting their business and investment practices in order to adapt to government legislation. Whatever the process, it is clear that climate change will be an unavoidable factor in future global business practices.

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The Philippines Commission on Human Rights (CHR) has sent a 65-page complaint to about 47 different energy and mining giants, accusing them of contributing to climate change and thus violating the fundamental rights of Filipino citizens. Grievances listed include violation of the rights to "life, food, water, sanitation, adequate housing, and to self determination." The document demands that the corporations respond within 45 days with formal plans to either eliminate or lessen their carbon footprints. Major companies listed in the dispatch include Shell, BP, Chevron, ExxonMobil, and BHP Billiton. Both human rights and environmental organizations are calling this a "landmark case." 

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On Wednesday, United States President Barack Obama, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto will meet in Ottawa for the annual North American Leaders' Summit. The meeting, commonly referred to as the Three Amigos Summit, has gathered almost every year since 2005 to discuss strategic cooperation and important economic issues. This year's meeting in particular will prove to be of high significance. The primary objective of the 2016 Summit is to develop clean power plans for each country in the continued combat against climate change. However, recent political developments may cast a shadow over this year's talks.

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In a legally-binding agreement reached in last years' COP21 conference, over 195 nations pledged to reduce carbon emissions from 2020 onward. The ultimate goal of the conference was to adapt measures that would keep global temperatures from rising 1.5 to 2 degrees Celsius. The passing of this agreement--the first of its kind--appears indicative of the current worldview of climate change. Most world leaders are now unified in the idea that climate change is an increasingly urgent global concern. As a result, the pressure to utilize renewable energy sources has never been higher. Such resources, including hyrdo-electric power, wind turbines, and solar cells, are growing in both popularity and efficiency. Now, the goal is to deviate totally from fossil fuels, both in daily energy use and in international business.

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From November 30 to December 11, leaders and negotiators from 195 countries are meeting in Paris to reach a deal on global carbon emissions and rising global temperatures. The meeting is officially known as the United Nations Paris Climate Change Conference and the 21st session of the Conference of the Parties, or COP21 for short. The Conference of the Parties is an annual U.N.-supervised global meeting that has taken place since 1995 and is dedicated to reducing the effects of climate change. COP21 is one of the largest conferences organized yet, meeting with the goal of creating the first legally binding global climate agreement. Past climate change agreements, including the Kyoto Protocol and the Copenhagen Accord, either focused mainly on curbing carbon emissions or introduced measures that did not reach unanimous global approval. The nations meeting in COP21 aim to change this with a new agreement.

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Global discussion and concern about climate change has amplified in the past few years, as more research has been conducted and more world leaders have voiced their opinions on the issue. The most recent world leader to do so was Pope Francis, leader of almost 70 million Catholics worldwide, who declared global warming to be a threat to life on the planet and called for a reduction of the usage of fossil fuels. As this movement garners further support, more and more nations are turning to clean and renewable alternative energy sources to supplement, and eventually replace, their fossil fuel driven energy sources. Of these renewable alternatives, solar power is one of the most popular worldwide.

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In recent years, scientists have noted the impacts of climate change on crops worldwide. As a result of rising temperatures and widespread drought, coffee crops in Vietnam are suffering. In Pakistan, the recent periods of intense rains and hailstorms have reduced the yields of wheat nationwide. Although there are many measures being taken to prevent further climate change, such as major corporations reducing their carbon dioxide output, global economic expansion is exacerbating the effects of climate change and is actually harming some industries.

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In part 3 of our global energy blog series, we discussed which countries could capitalize on the falling oil prices. For the fourth installment of the series, we turn our eyes to some of the environmental issues surrounding the energy industry, specifically the issue of carbon emissions. As climate change fears increase and become more urgent on a global scale, world leaders have been looking for solutions to reduce harmful emissions while avoiding the economic pitfalls that can be associated with taxes or regulation. One solution gaining popularity is carbon markets, which create carbon emission allowances that are given to businesses. These credits can be used or sold depending on the amount of emissions the business produces, giving companies an incentive to reduce their emissions.

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On a meeting in Berlin on Thursday, thirty wealthy nations pledged to donate $9.3 billion towards the Green Climate Fund, a sum dedicated toward reducing emissions and helping to protect developing and poorer nations from the stark effects of climate change. This is a little short of the $10 billion goal that was supposed to be reached, but it is a big step forward in investing to prepare help prepare for the effects of climate change. Environmental officials everywhere have highly praised the fund, and more countries are to offer donations by the end of the year.

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On Monday, June 2nd, the Obama administration announced through the EPA that new rules have been put into effect to reduce carbon pollution by coal and power plants by 30% by 2030. This is a historic occasion, as it marks the first time that the United States government has acted to try and regulate power plant emissions. The new rules have been met with high praise by many environmental groups and activists. However, debate has sparked over the potential economic impact of these rules. While concerns have been voiced over the effects on the coal and energy industries, many economists are also claiming these rules will lead to an overall positive outcome for the U.S. and the world. Here is a closer look.

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Foreign and domestic investment are spiking for Canadian Corn because of global warming and a drought in the Corn Belt region of the United States.  Climate change and the resulting increase in temperatures in the last 50 years have extended the growing season in Canada’s Prairie Provinces approximately two weeks.  The Prairie Provinces: Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba have long been big producers of wheat, but are now beginning to incorporate and in some cases completely switch to corn.  This is due to a decrease in corn supply in the drought-ridden Midwest region of the United States, high demand for the crop, and the fact that corn has a higher yield than wheat on a per acre basis.

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The changing global climate has become increasingly more difficult to ignore due to climbing air and water temperatures, rising sea levels, and melting of polar snow and ice. Recent reports have stated that the area of ice in the arctic has never been smaller, which has recently caught the attention of Asian economists. The opening of the Arctic north promises new trade routes, untapped reserves of oil, and an abundance of minerals to discover.

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As the human population grows and environmental complexities become more widespread, social responsibility and the fight against climate change have become major issues for businesses across the globe. Many companies are beginning to implement sustainable business practices to combat climate change and mitigate harmful emissions. You may be wondering what businesses around the world are at the top of the list in developing environmentally friendly business operations. Look no further, because a United Kingdom research company has just released rankings that track how large global companies are mitigating climate change and creating clean technology solutions.

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With concerns of a changing global climate, many countries around the world are looking for efficient energy sources designed to lower carbon emissions and combat global warming. One well-known energy project is harnessing the power of the wind with turbines to produce electricity. While many wind farms are built on land, offshore wind turbines are expected to grow rapidly as these climates are filled with constant driving winds. These offshore wind turbines hold great potential for the future of energy and new technology is changing the way wind farms operate.

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The European Union has been one of the most devoted players in the attempts to combat global climate change and reduce carbon emissions. The long-term energy plans proposed by the European Union depend largely on high technology projects designed to capture carbon dioxide emissions and store them underground. This would help abate global warming while also allowing industries to continue to burn large amounts of fossil fuels. However, weak support for the experimental carbon capturing technology has held the European Union back from reaching its energy goals.

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With many concerns and debates regarding climate change, countries around the world are looking for ways to reduce carbon emissions. These carbon emissions happen to be the leading cause of climate change and large coal-burning industries are mostly responsible. One way to reduce these harmful emissions involves a new technology that captures carbon dioxide from the air and pumps it directly underground for permanent storage. This project was operated in Germany, Scotland, and the United States with little success. However, the two largest consumers of carbon dioxide, China and the United States, are investigating a new way to reduce carbon output and are looking toward a surprising industry for this solution.

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Since the Industrial Revolution coal has been one of the most important energy commodities for countries and industries across the world. However, this is beginning to change as many businesses search for cleaner energy sources. With new drilling techniques, lower prices, and a large domestic supply in the United States, natural gas is becoming a very popular energy commodity. This energy switch from coal to natural gas is often viewed as beneficial for the environment but there has been some doubt regarding this belief.

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Can environmentally conscious consumers convince businesses to develop sustainable practices, or must government regulations force their hand? According to United Nations officials such as Christiana Figueres, the executive secretary of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, governments cannot be responsive enough to quickly alter the negative impacts of human actions on the environment. As government, business, and academic leaders recently met at the CNN Earth’s Frontiers debate in Cancun, Mexico, many people are asking which organizations are best suited to lead the fight against global warming.

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Businesses and countries alike are finding new ways to protect the environment by reducing emissions of harmful pollutants. One of these ways is a market-based approach called carbon trading which provides economic incentives for business firms that limit their output of carbon emissions. These carbon trading markets are beginning to form all around the world and the country of Kenya plans to launch Africa’s first carbon exchange.

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Seasonal rains and high global temperatures have caused many problems for the agricultural industry this year. Many countries rely on agricultural investments for income to meet global food production demands, making this a hard year for many regions. Food insecurity is an increasing problem throughout the world. Food production has been greatly affected by climate change as both heavy rains and dry fields have taken their toll on agriculture.

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The European Commission recently funded a five year project that was completed during fall 2009 - the ENSEMBLES project. Its purpose was to develop a prediction system to provide relevant information on climate change and its interactions with society. According to a report submitted by the scientists who worked on the project, France, Italy, and Spain are some of the countries that will most likely experience great changes by the end of the century due to climate changes.