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18 January 2010

The Accord "should give US Senate confidence"

Steve Westly
Steve Westly

Former California State Controller
Managing Director, The Westly Group

"I think Copenhagen was an important step forward. Although it did not produce a binding treaty, the Conference did produce progress.

"The world's major nations put forward emission reduction targets that would achieve half the reductions needed by 2020.

"Because the US and China were able to reach agreement on key issues in the Copenhagen Accord, it should give the US Senate confidence that if they pass a domestic climate and energy bill this year, a global treaty will follow."

"We need clarity"

Suresh Prabhu

Suresh Prabhu
Former India Environment Minister

"Copenhagen left us with an ambiguous agreement, whereas we need clarity. We need clarity on future emissions caps and the future of flexible mechanisms. A clear road map to turning the Copenhagen Accord into real action and commitment is now required.

"In the meantime, it is important that Indian businesses continue to understand and develop potential opportunities both domestically and internationally that come from shifting to a lower carbon economy.

"Initially this will be through opportunities arising from the National Action Plan on Climate Change, especially the Energy Efficiency and Solar Missions.  These efforts can be augmented through tangible moves forward in the international process, including realizing fast start funding commitments."

EU 30% emissions cut remains possible - and critical

Nick Robins
Head of HSBC Climate Change Center of Excellence

Nick Robins, head of HSBC's Climate Change Center of Excellence, believes that despite Copenhagen's failings, various pre-conference pledges, particularly from the likes of China and India, indicate an "irreversible process towards a lower carbon world" although not necessarily a "low carbon" one.

This will provide unprecedented opportunities for European businesses providing low-carbon products and services, especially in developing countries where more low-carbon industrialization is now likely to occur.

Within Europe itself, the lack of ambition within the Copenhagen Accord, while giving European policy makers pause for thought, is unlikely to slow the continued roll out of both EU and national low-carbon policies and measures.

Robins believes a unilateral commitment to a 30% emission reduction target by 2020 remains a strong possibility and, indeed, is critical to achieve the necessary momentum to deliver the real commercial opportunities that lie ahead in the emerging climate economy. 

Commitments show "the US is serious"

Jeff Swartz

Jeff Swartz
President and Chief Executive Officer
The Timberland Company

"If developed countries follow through on the financial commitments they made in Copenhagen ($30 billion through 2012 and $100 billion per year by 2020) it would represent major progress. Financing on this scale is exactly what is needed to create a truly global effort to solve climate change.

"The commitments made by the US Administration in Copenhagen combined with the EPA's recent endangerment  finding are a further indication to businesses that the US is serious about reducing its emissions - and soon."

China will continue to take action domestically

Changhua Wu

Changhua Wu
Greater China Director
The Climate Group

"As Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao pledged to the international community in Copenhagen, the 40-45% carbon intensity reduction target between 2005 and 2020 will be a domestically legally-binding target, that will cover industry, building, transport, and products.

"The Chinese government will integrate this target in the 12th (2011-2015) and 13th  (2016-2020) Five-Year Plan. It is expected develop strong policy support for local governments and business sectors to achieve these targets.

"China will further continue to build on and strengthen its commitments to improving energy efficiency, the development and deployment of alternative energy technologies, and to the roll out of carbon labeling scheme for consumer products, among others. With clear policy in place, the market for low carbon technologies, products and services will continue to develop and expand."


We asked leaders from across our global network leaders for their thoughts on the outcome of Copenhagen - and what it might mean for business, policy and climate action in their regions.

Steve Westly
(Managing Director, The Westly Group), Suresh Prabhu (Former India Environment Minister), Nick Robins (Head of HSBC Climate Change Center of Excellence), Jeff Swartz (President and Chief Executive Officer, The Timberland Company), and Changhua Wu (Greater China Director, The Climate Group) all offered their insights.

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