Twelve executives from multinational corporations called yesterday for international aid to help clean technologies replace fossil fuels.
The "Copenhagen Climate Council,” a coalition of business leaders, academics and development groups who claim to want action on climate change, released a statement calling for greenhouse gases to peak within a decade. The twelve co-signatories to the statement included the chiefs of DONG Energy, Vestas, Duke Energy, Virgin Group, Suntech Power and others.
"The new climate treaty must push the development of new technologies through public funds," the council said in its "Copenhagen Call," adding that, "governments should strive to end subsidies that favor high emissions transport and energy infrastructure."
More than 500 executives attended the May 24-26 World Business Summit on Climate Change, where the council made their announcement. The Summit was a precursor meeting to plan for the much-anticipated COP 15 Climate Summit in Copenhagen this December, where world leaders will attempt to craft a successor to the Kyoto Protocol.
Some executives who attended the business summit voiced skepticism about the motives of the big business executives calling for action on clean energy, suggesting that companies may be talking a good green game but are still conducting business as usual, investing in fossil fuel projects much more than clean energy. There also appears to be a disconnect among the Copenhagen Climate Council members, as Reuters reported only twelve council members issued the Copenhagen Call, yet 32 members belong to the council in total.
Among the council members who signed the Copenhagen Call was Duke Energy CEO James Rogers, who made a surprising announcement on the sidelines of the summit, stating that “he may be building his last two coal plants, to bet instead on nuclear power.”
Rogers said that if Duke Energy had to choose between incumbent technologies and focus on either nuclear power or coal, "I'm betting on nuclear. And I would go a step further and probably say that these two coal plants we build might well be the last two we build until we have a clear picture on CCS [Carbon Capture and Storage]."
Rogers noted that CCS technology is commercially untested and is a "decade to 15 years off,” potentially indicating that Duke may give up on building more new coal plants after the completion of two planned coal projects already underway.
The Copenhagen Climate Council’s “Copenhagen Call” includes the following general recommendations:
In order to set a firm foundation for a sustainable economic future it is imperative that the following six steps are implemented:
1. Agreement on a science-based greenhouse gas stabilization path with 2020 and 2050 emissions reduction targets that will achieve it;
2. Effective measurement, reporting and verification of emissions performance by business;
3. Incentives for a dramatic increase in financing low emissions technologies;
4. Deployment of existing low-emissions technologies and the development of new ones;
5. Funds to make communities more resilient and able to adapt to the effects of climate change, and
6. Means to finance forest protection.
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