Wednesday, December 23rd, 2009
Last week at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen (COP15), President Obama joined with the leaders of China, India, Brazil, South Africa and about 20 other nations in an agreement to curtail global emissions. The agreement has been dubbed the Copenhagen Accord, and while it is not yet a legally binding treaty, the United Nations’ draft proposal is drawing world-wide attention.
So was COP15 successful?
President Obama says that a “meaningful and unprecedented agreement” has been reached. He believes that transparency, mitigation and finance, three components he lobbied for, were all addressed while formulating the agreement.
Sheikh Hasina, The Prime Minister of Bangladesh, which is believed to be one of the countries hardest hit by global climate change, was also pleased with COP15’s outcome.
“I am pleased to say that we have been successful in arriving at a reasonable conclusion,” she said, adding that “there are certain areas that would be finalized in the coming days.”
Still, other COP15 participants, like David Hone, Climate Change Advisor for shell, believe that the conference wasn’t really designed to give businesses or the vast array of environmental, political, religious and civil society representatives a legitimate opportunity to contribute to the process.
Hone says, “At each UNFCCC meeting one or two major business organisations are given an opportunity to address the plenary and on every occasion that I can remember this seems to get reduced to one or two minutes as the time approaches – so the carefully worded business statement that didn’t say a whole lot anyway suddenly gets trimmed from a couple of pages to a few bullet points and that is it.”
As we’ve noticed with the healthcare debates here in the US, no-one ever really gets “everything” they wish for, but placing these issues in center-spotlight helps to create dialogue and make folks more aware of the problems at hand.
COP15 may not have provided the perfect venue for everyone to voice their respective concerns or wishes for global climate change reform, but it was still a huge public relations success. COP15 brought world-wide attention to the fact that nations generally agree that a problem does exists, and that the way we produce and consume energy should be globally revamped.
So what did COP15 do for you?
It should have directed your attention to the issue of global climate change, and the major goals and objectives that will guide future policies in energy production and consumption. Knowing where these changes are headed will bring major advantages to business owners and professionals seeking to compete on both local and global levels. Energy efficiency, security and diversity will all be key components to the new energy future.
In Copenhagen, the US pledged to invest $10 billion by 2012, and to also help mobilize another $100 billion for developing nations by 2020. This direct call to action will prompt entrepreneurs and professionals across the globe to join in the quest to build a better mouse trap. Staying informed of the issues, and following important developments like the Copenhagen Accord will keep your business or career at the forefront of global change.