Blog Post

The Copenhagen Call: 6 Biz-Friendly Steps To a Global Climate Deal

While we were all stuffing our faces at Memorial Day BBQs, more than 500 executives from cleantech firms, utilities, and policy makers at a climate convention in Copenhagen were agreeing on steps and targets needed to move away from a carbon-based economy while also protecting economic growth. The meeting was an effort to get businesses on the same page before the monumental United Nations Climate Change Conference taking place in December in Copenhagen that will be a followup to the Kyoto agreements.

Many of the cleantech leaders that we’ve covered over the past two years (Better Place’s Shai Agassi, Al Gore, Duke Energy’s James Rogers) attended, and the group issued a document, called The Copenhagen Call, which lays out key steps for policy makers and businesses to lead up to the talks in December. In an announcement, the group said, “The ‘Call’ states that business leaders stand ready to make those changes and support ambitious political decisions that support economic recovery and safeguard the planet.” Here are the Call’s six steps, and some quotes from attendees of this week’s summit:

The Copenhagen Call:

    1. Agreement on a science-based greenhouse gas stabilization path with 2020 and 2050 emissions reduction targets that will achieve it.

    2. Effective measurement, reporting and verification of emissions performance by business.

    3. Incentives for a dramatic increase in financing low emissions technologies.

    4. Deployment of existing low-emissions technologies and the development of new ones.

    5. Funds to make communities more resilient and able to adapt to the effects of climate change.

    6. Means to finance forest protection.

Gore: “It is appropriate that the business community be invited here a half year before the political decision makers get here. Since one of the principal ways we decide what is valuable…is within the market place, it is critically important that we get the rules of the marketplace correct — and that the signals we derive from the marketplace is one that accurately reflect human values.” (Video here)

Better Place’s Agassi: “We need to support the innovators.”

Generation Investment Management’s David Blood: “There are a number of business leaders who are out there on a limb. We need to support those folks.

Duke Energy’s Rogers:We’re going to have to fundamentally redefine our business models in a low-carbon world…Every business has to look inward and figure that out.”

A draft of the document, according to Reuters: “Emission reduction at this scale will profoundly affect business…The new climate treaty must push the development of new technologies through public funds…Governments should strive to end subsidies that favor high emissions transport and energy infrastructure.”