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Climate change is damaging our infrastructure, says BT boss

BT has joined with the likes of Sun and Cisco to call for the private and public sectors to cooperate in combating climate change

BT chief executive Ben Verwaayen has become the latest technology company head to call for government action to tackle climate change, claiming that it is already costing his company money.

Speaking to the Observer last week, Verwaayen said that severe weather systems resulting from climate change had caused substantial damage to BT's UK operations with the situation only set to get worse.

"The gales last winter followed Scotland's wettest summer on record," said Verwaayen. "This meant we experienced numerous cable faults, overhead cables down and a whole car park full of vehicles ruined by floods."

BT is part of an organisation known as the Corporate Leaders Group on Climate Change (CLGCC), which includes tech companies such as Sun Microsystems and Cisco systems. The group recently conducted an investigation to highlight the technological and legislative solutions that could reduce carbon emissions.

Initial findings were presented last week to Tony Blair ahead of the G8 Summit at Gleneagles in Scotland. In particular the group is calling for a clearer framework of legislation around climate change to help business make the case for investment in cleaner, greener technologies to upper management and shareholders.

"We need a strong policy framework that creates a long-term value for carbon-emission reductions and consistently supports the development of new technologies. Without such policies, our companies are not able to justify to our boards or investors the necessarily high up-front investment in low-carbon R&D, technologies and processes," the group stated.

The Prince of Wales is also involved with the CLGCC. He claimed recently that climate change will require a coordinated response from every sector of society, including the business community. "The role these companies are offering to play is highly strategic -- essentially helping us to create a political space in which effective policies can be introduced and global progress can be achieved.

At the end of last year, BT announced what it claimed was the world's largest purchase of green electricity by moving the majority of the company's electricity needs to environmentally friendly sources.

BT claims to have reduced its energy-related CO2 emissions by 80 per cent since 1991 -- nearly 1.5m tonnes a year. This, the company claims was achieved through investing in energy efficient plant and equipment, reducing waste and buying green energy