Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Cancun Summit ~ Looks Toward Business Leaders To Bridge The Gap

By Theodora Filis

This year’s World Climate Summit (WCS) in Cancun, Mexico, which kicked-off officially on November 29th, is said to be the beginning of a new, open and collaborative global 10-year framework dedicated to helping governments, businesses and financiers accelerate solutions to climate change. The Climate Summit is now looking to business leaders to bridge the gap being left by governments who cannot find a way to compromise.

At the Cancun preparatory meeting in Tianjin, China in October, little progress was made due to public disagreements between the United States and China. Washington accused Beijing of reneging on its commitments to transparency under last year's Copenhagen Accord, and China asserted that the US was not reducing its greenhouse gases.

The president of the authoritative Pew Center on Global Climate Change, Eileen Claussen, former assistant secretary of state for international environmental affairs, made this clear:

"Continued economic struggles and political changes expected after the US congressional elections are likely to make advancing climate policy an even tougher fight than we experienced over the last two years,” she said. "I think I speak for most of those working on this issue in Washington when I say the chances of passing a major climate bill in the next two years are nearly zero.”

The World Climate Summit facilitates large-scale collaborations between businesses, financiers, philanthropists and governments on regional, national and global solutions to climate change.

The inaugural World Climate Summit, is taking place on December 4-5th at the Ritz-Carlton, Cancun, during the UNFCCC COP 16. WCS is bringing more than 300 leading companies, financiers and government leaders to implement, scale and collaborate on solutions and partnerships to reach regional and global 2020 targets.

“Solutions to climate change such as energy efficiency already exist. We see the World Climate Summit as a perfect platform to scale and finance them regionally and globally." Niels B. Christiansen, CEO, Danfoss 

Some key highlights of the World Climate Summit include:

o  Sir Richard Branson, Ted Turner, Lord Stern, Emilio Azcarraga, President of Grupo Televisa, and more than 100 high-level speakers confirmed from more than 20 industries.

o  Convening, under the leadership of The UNEP Finance Initiative, the largest network of investors and financial intermediaries demanding climate change action ever assembled - representing more than $20 trillion of assets under management.

o  Introduction of new global initiatives and the launch of the Carbon War Room Gigaton Awards - the Oscars of sustainable business - celebrating cities, companies and leaders tackling climate change.

Hundreds of millions of people could be forced to move because of water shortages and crop failures in most of Africa, as well as central and southern Asia and South America. There could also be an effect on levels of starvation and food prices as agriculture struggles to cope with the growing demand in increasingly arid conditions.

Rising sea levels could cause havoc, with coastal communities in southern Asia, the Far East, the south Pacific islands and the Caribbean seeing their homes submerged.

North and west Africans could head towards Europe, while the southern border of the United States could come under renewed strain from Central America.

Pressure, therefore, is growing for the international community to reach a formal consensus on ways of dealing with climate change issues. 

"We have 10 years to scale and implement existing solutions globally. Cancun will be the beginning of this global transformation, with the business and finance community driving this change." Jens Nielsen & Michael Mathres, Founders, World Climate Summit