Friday, 21 January 2011

The 2010 United Nations Climate Change Conference

Guestpost by Daniel Fielding of Shades of Green

The 2010 United Nations Climate Change Conference—or COP 16—convened from November 29th to December 10 2010 in Cancun, Mexico. This is the 16th session of the Conference to the Parties of the United Nations framework convention on Climate Change. The major goal of the conference was to develop a methodological framework among nations to address global warming.

CEOs of leading global multinationals highlighted the urgency of constructing a global plan for a low-carbon economy with the purpose of ensuring global health and safety. Many had lower expectations for the COP16 agenda than the Copenhagen conference in 2009; COP 16 underscored the urgency and importance of the corporate commitment to the relationship between climate action and corporate social responsibility. The conference also showcased the significant impact of government accountability and civil society in taking position steps toward eradicating global warming and environmental degradation.

The “Business Action for Climate 2010” event featured keynote speakers President Felipe Calderon of Mexico and Christiana Figures, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Also featured was a panel discussion by influential NGO and corporate industry leaders like Andrew Liveris (Dow Chemical), James E. Rogers (Duke Energy), and José Antonio Fernández (FEMSA).

DOW Chemical Corporation CEO, Andrew Liveris discussed on the panel the importance of building a low-carbon international economy. He addressed economic and political pitfalls and strategies for pursuing a globally clean economy. Liveris commented that a green, carbon-free global economy would never be realized unless there is strong public policy and governmental incentive. Furthermore, he explained how DOW is incepting innovative financing mechanisms and investment opportunities for a green business future. Liveris also went on to mention the importance of efforts being made in third-world nations.

Such efforts include bringing advanced water filtration techniques to developing countries; many of which are currently suffering from water shortages. Specifically, they have worked towards making their reverse-osmosis and other filtration systems industrialized nations have been using for years more affordable and accessible to developing nations

President Calderon’s opening remarks echoed the theme for the conference, "It is possible to have economic growth and at the same time it is possible to fight climate change. It is possible to fight climate change and at the same time it is possible to mitigate climate emissions. The key issue is to find the way towards clean development”. Those individuals who took part in the COP 16 said that the climate talks were a serious and important step forward in the process towards the inception of a clean-energy economy. As the global economy struggles, CEOs like Liveris and Rogers shared in their panel how to build a clean economy for the world as well as using these notions of green energy to fuel international economic recovery. As energy expenditures reduce and retooling manufacturing corporations and distribution processes to utilize cleaner energy technologies.

The outcome of the summit was an agreement, which works to reduce global warming to less than 2 degrees Celsius, which is above pre-industrial levels. It also asks that developed countries reduce their greenhouse gas emissions as pledged in the Copenhagen Accord (COP 15), as well as create a plan to keep emissions low permanently. The agreement includes a "Green Climate" fund, projected worth in excess of $100 billion a year by 2020. This money will to assist developing countries in financing emission reductions and adaptation policies.