Heads of 100 of the world's biggest companies will today call on political leaders to agree huge cuts in greenhouse gases to stimulate a "green industrial revolution".
The statement organised by the World Economic Forum calls for "at least" a halving of global emissions of the greenhouse gases blamed for climate change, intensifying pressure on the heads of the world's largest G8 economies, who meet in Japan next month.
The chairmen and chief executives, whose companies represent more than 10% of global stockmarkets, indicate that emissions reductions by richer countries will have to be much deeper than 50%, but insist that big developing nations, particularly China and India, also have to tackle pollution. So far the G8 has only said it would "seriously consider" a 50% cut.
"Climate change is not only a challenge, it is also an opportunity," says the statement. "A paradigm shift to a low-carbon economy by 2050 has the potential to drive forward the next chapter of technological innovation. It will require a third - this time a green - industrial revolution."
The statement calls for "strong leadership" and even higher targets from the G8 leaders. It also calls for an interim target, but does not say what that should be. "Fifty per cent is an average internationally and the G8 will have to show strong leadership and push for more," said Dominic Waughray, the Forum's director, head of environmental initiatives.