Nearly half of all measures needed in industrialised countries to fight climate change can pay for themselves. This is the conclusion of a new Global Climate Abatement Plan presented by Swedish energy company Vattenfall.

Big business is increasingly waking up to the need for strong policies to combat global warming. Even ExxonMobil, which for years had questioned the man-made nature of climate change, has recently moved on after meeting with US environmental groups to discuss how it can respond to the new challenge.

One of the biggest hurdles for industry has always been fear that the necessary measures to curb climate change would undermine its competitiveness and economic growth. But recent studies indicate that these can also be limited if the world moves fast on the necessary technological and behavioural changes and that taking measures early can prevent much higher costs to the world economy later. Moreover, some companies have also recognised that climate-change measures may even make good business sense.

Climate change has also taken centre stage at European Union level. On 10 January 2007, the European Commission presented a comprehensive "energy-climate change" package which aims to deal with the twin challenge of energy security and climate change. The main message of this package was that the EU is willing to take unilateral steps to reduce its greenhouse-gas emissions by 20% before the year 2020 (as compared to 1990) and to push at international level for a global deal which would set a 30% reduction target for all industrialised countries.