The World Economic Forum's Dominic Waughray, Senior Director, Head of Environmental Initiatives is at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen and blogs his impressions
Two main points to draw your attention to.
First, there was a split today within the developing country negotiators. Some of the nation’s most vulnerable to climate change – the poorest developing nations in Africa and small island states – broke rank with their “richer” developing country compatriots. They want a tougher global target than that which is being aimed for (see yesterdays blog); something instead that limits warming to just 1 degree Celsius. However, faster growing developing countries like China, India and South Africa think this is too aggressive and could constrain their growth plans. Talks were suspended for a while today and private discussions continue on the sidelines to try and resolve this.
This is actually quite interesting and it has causing quite some reaction within the NGO community. It is the first time the so-called G77 of poorer nations plus China has split apart. Some of my NGO sources say it’s a pity, as a unified developing country position helps push for a stronger deal. However others say, it’s about time that those who are being most affected stand up for their survival. Note also, friends in the Young Global Leader community, that our colleague Malini Meera of CSM is asked her views on all this by the BBC’s Richard Black.
Second point I wanted to raise was in relation to the business community. An interesting poll result came out today, fed to me early by a source in the UK government. On behalf of a think tank called Business For New Europe (BNE), who will put out a press release on this in the next few days, MORI has found that 81% of UK business leaders agree that the European Union should play a greater role in helping to combat climate change. This is interesting, because at the same time BNE also carry a story on their website about the group Business Europe who sent an open letter to the Swedish Prime Minister today, ahead of this week’s Council of Europe meeting. Business Europe urge the EC to stay at a 20% reduction level and not move to 30%, because they feel that other countries are not putting enough on the table in terms of emissions reductions targets.
However, three corporate green alliances who the Forum’s Climate Initiative knows well – the Prince of Wales' EU Corporate Leaders Group, the Climate Group and WWF's Climate Savers (which include such companies as Shell, Philips and Deutsche Telekom) – said that not everyone in the corporate community agreed with the Business Europe stance.
It seems that across the economy, whether it be in Government, NGO or in business circles, the Copenhagen discussions are really opening up the debate now.
As an aside, I wonder what the equivalent figure would be for a US business survey on attitudes to the US emissions reduction target (too strong, too weak etc) or something similar in other major economies? If anyone is aware of any very recent and reputable business surveys on the issue, please do let me know. I will check it out and maybe publish the headline and a link. firstname.lastname@example.org. It would be good to get a feel of world busines opinon on all this as the days tick by. Thanks
And just on an end note, the first decade of this century is "by far" the warmest since instrumental records began, said the World Meteorological Organization yesterday. Their analyses also show that 2009 will almost certainly be the fifth warmest in their 160-year record.
More tomorrow from the action in Copenhagen itself.