Environment Forum

Youth groups bending the ear of business at COP15

There are numerous youth groups at the Copenhagen Climate Conference (they are known as ‘Youngos’, short for young non-governmental organisations) and they have all come here to make sure their collective voice is heard as delegates negotiate an agreement on how to tackle climate change.

Youngos represent a significant portion of the 34,000 people who have registered to attend the conference, and some have even managed to gain access to politicans and business leaders to put pressure on them on ethical business strategies.

One of these unfailingly vocal groups is the United Kingdom Youth Climate Coalition (UKYCC), which has travelled to Copenhagen to lobby businesses, investors and world leaders to adopt practices which would safeguard the environment for future generations.

We corralled three of these 18-25 year olds onto a youth panel and asked them to talk about how they are applying this pressure, what they would like to achieve in Copenhagen and the successes they have had so far.

Here is a video of Victoria Barron on the success she has had working with businesses on ethical strategies.

from Mario Di Simine:

For rent: COP15 apartment, $5,000 for 2 weeks

DENMARK CHRISTIANIA

In a country where income taxes can run as high as 60 percent and the word most used to describe almost everything is "expensive", it's little wonder the locals are eager to pocket a few extra Danish kroner during the COP15 Copenhagen climate conference.

And if the extra money comes in under the table, even better.

With the hotels and hostels booked solid, some Danes have opened their homes to some of the 34,000 delegates who were tardy in their bookings.

A waiter told me that he and his roommate had rented out their two-bedroom apartment for the two-week duration of the conference for a whopping $5,000. He didn't want his name used, of course. That money will not make it into the country's coffers.

from Mario Di Simine:

WWF, businesses deal on emissions

The debate over lowering greenhouse gas emissions is sometimes depicted as a fight between environmental groups concerned over the health of the planet and businesses concerned about economic growth and bottom-line erosion.

Occasionally, though, there is a meeting of like minds between the two.

The WWF has a program in which it partners with companies to target emissions reductions. The Climate Savers program is an agreement between the WWF and its partner companies to lay out targets and set out projects to meet those goals.

"We want to show that doing business and reducing emissions go hand in hand," said Matthew Banks, a senior program officer at the WWF and an economist.

from The Great Debate:

For real results on climate, look beyond Copenhagen

-- Aron Cramer is the president and CEO of BSR, a global business network and consultancy focused on sustainability. He is also coauthor of the forthcoming book Sustainable Excellence (Rodale 2010). The views expressed are his own.  --

(Updated on December 17th to correct figure in McKinsey study in paragraph 7.)

As world leaders seem uncertain about whether a binding treaty is even possible at Copenhagen, it’s important to remember what was already clear: Twelve days in Copenhagen were never going to solve climate change anyway.

No doubt, these negotiations, now extending into 2010, are crucial. The sooner we can seal a global deal to reduce emissions, the sooner we can avoid catastrophic climate change. But as important as the treaty negotiations in Copenhagen’s Bella Centre are, even a successful outcome will be for naught if boardroom decisions and factory processes aren’t reoriented toward a low-carbon future.

The answer could be blowing in the wind

wind2

Well into the first week of the U.N. Conference on Climate Change, the haves and have nots of the world are still divided over who should pay for the cleanup of the planet. Poor countries want rich countries to cough up more ambitious goals for emissions cuts and developing technologies.

From emerging wind and solar industries to geothermal advances, the technologies being tested for adaptability in the fight against climate change are still quite new and in some cases revolutionary.

To kick off today’s discussion, we posed the question to our panel of climate experts:  What technology could be the most successful solution to global warming?

from Mario Di Simine:

JohnsonDiversey exec sees CO2 reductions good for businesses

Some businesses in the United States will have to reinvent themselves as the Obama administration moves to lower greenhouse gas emissions, but they'll be  better off in the long run, Pedro Chidichimo, president of JohnsonDiversey EMA, told Reuters.com on Thursday.

Despite the inevitable short-term pain, Chidichimo said that carbon footprint reductions simply have good bottom-line implications for businesses.

"Of course there are a lot of investments that need to be done, not only financial investments but resources and capabilities investments that need to be done to do that but this will generate significant bottom-line improvement for the business landscape," he said.

Reporter’s video notebook: Day Four

Reuters environmental markets correspondent Gerard Wynn is at the United Nations Conference on Climate Change in Copenhagen. In this video log, he previews what to expect on the fourth day of talks.

Day Three: And what of Obama?

NOBEL-OBAMA/HUMANRIGHTS

President Barack Obama’s decision to attend the climate talks in Copenhagen next week, at the end of the process rather than at the beginning, is said to show the White House is serious about pursuing a deal to curb global warming.

On the first day of talks in Copenhagen this week, the Environmental Protection Agency cleared the way for regulation of greenhouse gases without new laws passed by Congress, a move said to enforce Obama’s commitment to act.

And on Tuesday, the top Chinese climate envoy told Reuters the U.S. needs to increase its commitment to emission cuts.

Climate skeptics hold their own Copenhagen conference

With the world’s eyes firmly fixed on the U.N. Climate Conference in Copenhagen it is easy to forget that there remains a significant group of scientists and politicians who do not accept that humanity’s emissions of greenhouse gases are the primary cause of climate change.

These climate skeptics are in Copenhagen too and they held their own two-day conference not far from the Bella Center, home of the main summit. The Copenhagen Climate Challenge brought together a cluster of scientists who believe the real causes of climate change are being overlooked, ignored and even purposefully distorted.

They presented their evidence and called on world leaders to recognise that there is in fact no scientific consensus on climate change and asked that their dissenting views are given a fair hearing.

Day Two: Reaction to the EPA

(Updated with comments from Dr. Gidon Eshel, physics professor, Bard College)

On the first day of the United Nations Conference on Climate Change in Copenhagen, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency cleared the way for regulation of greenhouse gases without new laws passed by Congress, reflecting President Barack Obama’s commitment to act on climate change.

The EPA ruling that greenhouse gases endanger human health was widely expected, but for the record, Reuters.com asked our panel of experts on climate change what they thought of the decision.

Watch this space throughout the conference, which runs to Dec. 18. We’ll be asking some of the world’s foremost thinkers timely questions about breaking news and overarching themes about fighting global warming. We hope you will join the discussion.

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