Edited by Alain Verbeke and Hemant Merchant
Climate change is often perceived as the most pressing environmental problem of our time, as reflected in the large public, policy and corporate attention it has received, and the concerns expressed about the (potential) consequences. Particularly due to temperature increases, climate change affects physical and biological systems by changing ecosystems and causing extinction of species, and is expected to have a negative social impact and adversely affect human health (IPCC, 2007). Moreover, as a result of the economic costs and risks of extreme weather, climate change could have a severe impact on economic growth and development as well, if no action is taken to reduce emissions (Stern, 2006). This means that it can affect multinational enterprises (MNEs) active in a wide variety of sectors and countries. Climate change is not a ‘purely’ environmental issue because it is closely linked to concerns about energy security due to dependence on fossil fuels and oil in particular, and to energy efficiency and management more generally. Controversy about the climate change issue has led to a broadening of the agenda in some cases, with policy-makers targeting energy to avoid commotion about the science and politics of climate change, and firms likewise, also because addressing climate change in practice usually boils down to an adjustment in the energy base of business models.
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