Stephen Eule, vice president for climate and technology at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Institute for 21st Century Energy, recently returned from Denmark where he participated in an international business roundtable in advance of the COP15 International Climate Conference to be held in Copenhagen in December.
Stephen previously served as the director of the Office of Climate Change Policy & Technology at the U.S. Department of Energy, and will be representing the U.S. Chamber of Commerce at the COP15 conference.
Below, you’ll find Stephen Eule’s thoughts on the roundtable, as well as the document produced at the meeting.
“A meeting of the international business community on climate change was timely. The organizations gathered in Denmark last week represented 5 continents and tens of millions of businesses. During our discussions, we found a lot of common ground, and I think that the statement we produced sends a clear message that the business community wants to be fully engaged in the run up to the Copenhagen conference in December,” said Eule.
Expectations for the International Climate Conference (COP15)
Climate Change Roundtable of Business Representatives
17-18 February 2009 in Copenhagen
The business organisations:
All China Federation of Industry and Commerce
Brazilian National Confederation of Industry
Canadian Council of Chief Executives
Confederation of Indian Industry
Confederation of Danish Industry
Kenya Association of Manufacturers
National Business Initiative – South Africa
Nippon Keidanren (Japan Business Federation)
US Chamber of Commerce
US Council for International Business
convened at their own initiative in Copenhagen on 17 and 18 February 2009 to share views on climate change. They agreed on the following statement on the upcoming international climate change conference in Copenhagen in December this year:
Business is committed to supporting a successful outcome at COP15 in Copenhagen, which we believe is possible in spite of the economic downturn. Fundamentally, governments need to get an international framework agreement at COP15 to move international cooperative action on climate change forward, while addressing economic recovery and promoting energy security. We recommend that this framework give equal attention to mitigation, adaptation and deforestation.
We are substantially concerned by these challenging economic circumstances, since without economic recovery, the global community’s ability to take ambitious actions to address climate issues could be compromised. Still, we expect that the financial crisis will be temporary, and understand that climate change is a long term global challenge that requires near and long term action.
We do need to act, but in these challenging times, we have to act wisely and cost-effectively, with integrated and prioritised policies, within the UNFCCC, and in synergy with other multilateral processes to best marshal limited resources.
Acting decisively in the economic crisis
Governments should recognise and embrace business engagement and expertise as critical to responding to these challenges in the course of 2009.
Business is part of the solution to climate change. We are already taking major steps and actions in developed and developing countries, demonstrating that business offers a wide range of solutions and resources. Integrated approaches within governments, and across issues of energy, climate change and development, will be critical in this regard. There are many viable technology options available, and we can and must do better with supporting policies, such as standards, public-private partnership and government procurement.
We must step up funding for R&D, innovation and training and promote enabling frameworks to reduce costs for technology transfer and commerce. Improvements to CDM and JI should be advanced in terms of small projects, agriculture projects and reduction of bureaucracy.
National and regional stimulus measures should include climate- and energy- oriented investments. Climate policies and implementation should contribute positively to economic recovery and growth, and countries should avoid the tendency to protectionism and other counter-productive measures. These would only compound economic challenges and undermine the needed consensus for cooperative climate change action at a global level.
We strongly recommend that governments involve ministers of finance directly in the negotiations to discuss how to move ahead on climate financing in the current constrained financial conditions.
As one way to respond to these challenges, and in light of limited finances, we need to better target the investments at national levels for efficiency and cost effectiveness. Overall, different funding mechanisms and needs will be required for different national and regional settings and different industries. Funding must be dedicated and predictable. We recommend, where possible, using established institutions to address financing, technology, deforestation and adaptation issues in the post-2012 framework. Institutions that address financing should be improved in the form of public-private sector partnership, with appropriate optimization, transparency, clear rules and business-like procedures.
Adaptation must be addressed at international and local levels, in particular, water, health, agriculture and future power production and distribution issues. It must use local skills, build sustainable local infrastructure and use experience already present in developing countries.
The present business organisations, coming from five continents, representing millions of companies, from countries of different levels, are committed to work further to develop these ideas and offer more specific recommendations and solutions that will advance economic recovery, boost climate change action and enable needed sustainable development in all regions.
Key elements of a post 2012 UNFCCC framework
The UNFCCC framework should be flexible and include all countries, taking into account common but differentiated responsibilities. It should pay equal attention to adaptation and mitigation and take into account national objectives, action plans and circumstances.
The framework should: