Welcome to Road to Copenhagen

Follow along with 3p as we track the news and developments leading up to, and during, the COP15 Climate Conference taking place in Copenhagen in December 2009.

Reflections on Copenhagen: The Economics of Green

Posted by 3p Contributor February 11th, 2010 4 Comments

By Dennis Salazar

Copenhagen – A Microcosm of the Green Movement

Last year’s disappointing climate summit in Copenhagen demonstrated if not proved two important things about “saving the earth”:

1. Sustainability is a very emotional topic for some
2. Sustainability is a financial topic for most

Unfortunately, what transpired in Copenhagen is probably the rule, rather than the exception. It was disheartening to realize the events probably represent and reflect the domestic and world population’s perspective on saving the environment.

Public Demonstrations versus Back Room Deals

Perhaps due to decades of protesting, a wide array of real or perceived injustices, unruly public demonstrations have for the most part become unproductive. Even the nightly news has lost interest in well meaning protesters being hauled away by force. I recall the first time I saw an eco activist chained to a tree in the seventies, and thinking “how cool is that.” It did not matter what the cause was, I really admired the commitment.

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KPMG: Looking back at Copenhagen

Posted by February 4th, 2010 0 Comments

A quick post today: KPMG has been no stranger to climate change issues and has offered some interesting commentary in the past, particularly during the COP15 conference in December.

The following is a great COP15 wrap up conversation I though was worth sharing. It features Alan Buckle, KPMG’s Global Head of Advisory, and Barend van Bergen, associate partner with KPMG in the Netherlands. Enjoy….

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The Copenhagen Accord – Final Thoughts on COP15

Posted by December 21st, 2009 10 Comments

Get the full text of the Copenhagen Accord (pdf – advance unedited version).

This will be my last post under the banner “The Road to Copenhagen.” Much punditry, on this site and elsewhere, comes in the wake of the now-ended COP15 climate conference. I will likely not have much to add as I recover from my 28-hour journey home (one missed connection can really spoil your day) and begin to take stock of the last two weeks. There is talk of “heartbreaking disappointment” resulting from the process and the Copenhagen Accord which it bore, and I am forced to question the wisdom of placing this disappointment solely at the feet of COP15.

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The Copenhagen Communique: An Entrepreneur’s Perspective

Posted by Bill Roth December 19th, 2009 1 Comment

road-to-copenhagen What does the Copenhagen Communique mean to an entrepreneur? Am I being too blunt to suggest the answer is “nothing?”

Entrepreneurs are focused on their customers as the source of inspiration and profits. Laws passed by politicians receive entrepreneurial attention only when they impact their customers’ ability to buy or their cost of operations. The Copenhagen Communique is a non-event to entrepreneurs except that it creates uncertainty on what rules governments might change in the future.

But I hope that our future environment and economy will become more sustainable as a nexus grows between pioneering entrepreneurs launching price competitive and sustainable solutions and consumers’ search for cost less, mean more goods and services.

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Thomas Friedman Talks COP15, Mother Nature, and Father Greed

Posted by 3p Contributor December 19th, 2009 1 Comment

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Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on Grist, and is re-posted with permission.

Thomas Friedman. Photo courtesy of Grist

Thomas Friedman. Photo courtesy of Grist

By Amanda Little, Grist’s former Muckraker columnist

Hours before the outcome of the Copenhagen conference was revealed, I sat down with New York Times Columnist Thomas Friedman to discuss the implications of the historic summit. No matter what happens in Copenhagen, said Friedman, what matters most is what happens at home: Where the US goes, so goes the world. But we can’t lead the world without charting a path for ourselves.

Amanda Little: Did you have high expectations for COP15?

Thomas Friedman: I really question this whole process—and to some extent, its premise. Let me put it this way: Anything 192 countries could agree on would not be serious. Because it would be such a lowest common denominator that it’s not serious. At the end of the day, what I believe matters more than anything is what America does. Because if we lead it, more people will emulate us by just wanting to emulate us then will do the right thing by compulsion of a global treaty. What I care about is what 60 senators in the U.S. Senate will agree on and I want that to be a serious cap-and-trade or a serious carbon tax. If the U.S. leads—we still got a lot of juice—people will follow.

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For Wisconsin’s Doyle, It’s All About Green Jobs

Posted by 3p Contributor December 18th, 2009 6 Comments

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Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on Grist, and is re-posted with permission.

By Amanda Little, Grist’s former Muckraker columnist

Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle (center) at the Climate Leaders Summit in Copenhagen. Photo Source: The Climate Group via Flickr

Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle (center) at the Climate Leaders Summit in Copenhagen. Photo Source: The Climate Group via Flickr

When you think of renewable energy, the image that comes to mind is often a solar array in California, a windmill in Texas, or a cornfield in Iowa. Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle (D) wants you to think of Wisconsin first, which explains why he’s one of several governors attending the Copenhagen climate talks. I sat down with him for a brief interview. An edited transcript follows:

Q. Where are the opportunities for job development in the larger effort to achieve climate solutions?

A. Well, for us in a state like Wisconsin where we don’t have oil, and we don’t have natural gas and we don’t have coal, it means every dollar we spend to create energy that comes from one of those fuel sources is a dollar that leaves the state of Wisconsin. So [we win] if we can produce energy from our agricultural fields, our forests, from our ingenuity, from our wind and sun, and if we can build the research capacity around all of that.

We have more people working manufacturing (percentage wise) than any state in the country. It’s great capacity. And as we focus that on the production of components for wind turbines, for solar panels, or other very high tech energy … that’s all jobs for us. So to me, we have set out as a goal that we really look to have about 10 percent of Wisconsin’s economy, if we do this right, 25 years from now, can be based on energy production and that’s a huge number of jobs…

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Opinion: Slavery, Carbon, Economics and the Ties that Bind Us

Posted by 3p Contributor December 17th, 2009 10 Comments

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slaveryBy Lee Barken, IT practice leader at Haskell & White, LLP

With the gathering of more than 130 world leaders in Copenhagen this week, the issue of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions is taking center stage.  GHG has become the burden that no one country can unilaterally cure, but every person on the planet has a vested interest in addressing.

Cap and trade, along with other policy measures, have stirred a great deal of controversy–as they should.  Decisions to significantly alter the fabric of commerce and daily life should not be taken lightly.  Rigorous debate is essential and should be welcomed.

However, even the most ardent climate skeptic acknowledges that finite resources such as oil and other fossil fuels won’t last forever.  As such, the debate seems to be evolving into a question of when and not if.  In other words, is this a problem that needs to be tackled in the next five years?  Or, do we have 100 years to figure it out?

Bold Action

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COP15 & Schwarzenegger: “We Are The Climanators”

Posted by 3p Contributor December 17th, 2009 2 Comments

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arnold-solarBy Eban Goodstein, Director of The Bard Center for Environmental Policy

Copenhagen, at an extraordinary confluence in human history. Amidst grey skies, wet snow, bureaucratic chaos, street protests, and warm Danish hospitality, delegates and observers share an understanding. The outcome of these meetings will profoundly impact every human being who will ever walk the face of the planet from now until the end of time. Each of us knows we have only a few years to initiate sharp pollution cuts, before the window for climate stabilization shuts on our future, forever.

The heavy cloud of failure hangs over COP15. The tired conference poster sessions, booth displays and trade shows carry little interest.

The certain outcome of these meetings will be—another meeting. No matter how strong the final agreement that emerges Friday, COP15 will not be enough. Indeed, Arnold Schwarzenegger’s main pledge yesterday, as he pushed for continued sub-national, California-style action, was, “I’ll be back.”

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Big Business’ Climate Conundrum: Lead, Follow, Or Obstruct

Posted by 3p Contributor December 17th, 2009 0 Comments

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on Grist, and is re-posted with permission.

By Jonathan Hiskes, Grist Staff Writer

Is that government out front, or big business? Photo Credit: iStockphoto (with permission from Grist)

Photo Credit: iStockphoto (with permission from Grist)

COPENHAGEN—The most popular American CEO here these two weeks, at least among other business leaders, has been Duke Energy chief Jim Rogers. Which doesn’t make much sense, as Duke generates most of its electricity from coal, the dirtiest of fossil fuels.

Consider Rogers’ own confession: “Of all the companies in the U.S., we [Duke Energy] have the third-largest carbon footprint,” he said at a press briefing last Thursday. “Of all the companies in the world, we’re number 12. If we were one of the 192 countries of the United Nations, we’d rank 41st.”

That’s a gutsy admission to make at a climate-change conference. Such directness, plus Rogers’ North Carolina charm, helps explain the warm receptions he’s received at well-attended business gathering over the last few days. He’s been speaking about his unlikely role as an advocate for a national cap-and-trade bill and his optimism that more American businesses will come around on the issue.

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Silicon Valley to Copenhagen: It’s OK to Fail, If You Do It Right

Posted by 3p Contributor December 16th, 2009 1 Comment

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on Grist, and is re-posted with permission.

By Jonathan Hiskes, Grist Staff Writer

If at first you don't succeed... A lesson from Silicon Valley for climate policymakers. Photo Credit: iStockphoto (with permission from Grist)

If at first you don't succeed... A lesson from Silicon Valley for climate policymakers. Photo Credit: iStockphoto (with permission from Grist)

COPENHAGEN—At the “To Be or Not To Be” business summit at Hamlet’s Castle over the weekend, one French executive joked about not trusting a business that was less than 150 years old (ah, those witty folk from “old Europe” …). But there was a very different perspective on display at a “view from Silicon Valley” reception in downtown Copenhagen on Monday.

The carbon-accounting software startup Hara hosted the event, bringing its CEO, its “chief green officer,” and two venture capital partners to speak about what California’s clean tech industry can teach those trying to address climate change. Hara is six months old and has attracted $20 million in investment capital, much of it from the leading valley firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. The company and its investors (who include Al Gore) are betting that businesses will be willing to pay for software that measures their use of fossil fuels, water, and waste and that then calculates how to save money.

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A Hitchhiker’s Guide to COP15 Climate Talks

Posted by 3p Contributor December 15th, 2009 0 Comments

The COP15 corridor dance: A yellow badge-wearer chats up a pink badge-wearer.

The COP15 corridor dance: A yellow badge-wearer chats up a pink badge-wearer.

By Lee Barken, IT practice leader at Haskell & White, LLP

Wish you were here? Allow me to draw a picture.

We’re now well into week two of the COP-15 Climate Summit in Copenhagen and the diplomats, activists and media representatives are fully engulfed in a whirlwind of activity.  Beyond the maze of the Bella Center’s million square feet, 60 meeting rooms and winding pathways lies another maze comprised of diplomatic maneuvering, backroom gamesmanship and good old-fashioned guerrilla marketing.  Knowing where to go and what to do depends mostly on who you are and why you are here.

In a nutshell, COP-15 is an oversized bundle of energy that can best be described as “organized chaos.”  It’s helpful if you think of it as two different conferences wrapped up in one.  The first conference is for the people who make decisions.  The other is for people who are trying to influence the people who are making the decisions.

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Irish Bookmaker Taking Odds on CO2 Output, Disappearing Polar Bears

Posted by December 15th, 2009 4 Comments

road-to-copenhagengloberouletteAn Irish bookie is taking bets on just how much CO2 the planet will belch out next year, and let’s just say the odds are not in humanity’s favor.

Paddy Power, an online and offline gambling company based in Dublin, said the odds are 7 to 4 that total world output of CO2 will be over 34 billion tons.

Paddy Power is basing its odds on the next Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center (CDIAC) report for the UN. The last report in 2007, covering 2006, measured CO2 emissions at 28.4 billion metric tonnes. A rise to 34 billion would be a 21 percent jump.

The full table of odds:

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Schwarzenegger at COP15: Business, Innovators, Entrepreneurs the “Real Solution”

Posted by December 15th, 2009 0 Comments


This afternoon (Copenhagen time), California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger praised the efforts of the scientist, entrepreneur, capitalist, innovator, and activist as the fundamental source of change on climate.

As important as they are, Schwarzenegger said, national agreements “will never do enough.”  Real progress comes at the sub-national level – the “iconoclast and individual citizen.”   Recalling that great movements “begin with people” and not with government. Schwarzenegger recalled the labor movement, women’s suffrage, civil rights, and the Vietnam anti-war movement as examples of how human progress requires individual agents of change, not in the “halls of power.”

As important as the proceedings here in Copenhagen may be, for Schwarzenegger, the real power rests in those who actively work every day for positive change.

Over to you, readers of Triple Pundit.

Following is the governor’s speech:

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Obama at COP15: The Grand Deal and the Second Track

Posted by 3p Contributor December 15th, 2009 1 Comment

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obama-cop15By Eban Goodstein, Director of The Bard Center for Environmental Policyjoin Dir Goodstein on The National Climate Seminar call where he will be reporting live from COP 15 tomorrow!

As COP 15 enters its final days, among the tens of thousands of international negotiators, climate activists, and green business entrepreneurs, hopes have been raised by the expected presence of both President Obama and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao this Friday.

What would count as victory in Copenhagen? Perhaps a commitment from China, the US and the rest of the world, to hold global temperature increases to 1.5 degrees C. Or Obama could take a dramatic first move on his own. He could declare his intent to push through carbon reductions regardless of Senate action, with the EPA enforcing his 17 percent target through the Clean Air Act.

Regardless, on Friday, Obama needs to bring leadership to COP 15, and that leadership needs to carry the US, and the rest of the world, forward.

But forward to where?  Not to a grand-deal, Kyoto-style.

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Employees* Rage Against the Coke Machine in Copenhagen

Posted by 3p Contributor December 14th, 2009 0 Comments

road-to-copenhagenEditor’s Note: This article was originally published on Grist, and is re-posted with permission.

COPENHAGEN—Two Cola-Cola* employees urged people in Copenhagen to never drink the soft drink again, denouncing their company’s environmental and human rights record in a highly unusual press conference* in the Hopenhagen LIVE area in City Hall Square.

The public relations* workers from Atlanta* said their consciences compelled them to speak out against the soft-drink conglomerate, inviting onlookers to make a public pledge against Coca-Cola’s water use, labor practices, and environmental claims.

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Copenhagen: A Week Is an Eternity and I’ve Been Here Forever

Posted by December 14th, 2009 4 Comments


not_another_flyer_bella_center_cop15So you think you’re burned out on COP15…

I’ve got a confession to make. I’m tired. I’m tired of the posturing, of the chanting, of the myriad ways the same issues can be endlessly bandied about. Rich vs. poor, north vs. south, 1.5 degrees vs. 2 degrees, who pays, who’s responsible, talk of “real deals,” evasive answers from Yvo, and the gauntlet of NGOs pushing the same piece of paper in my face they did yesterday (as of several days ago, if an organization doesn’t have information I can read online, they’ve lost me).

We’re all fired up. We’re all full of passion. We all want to change the world (well not everyone). But at the end of the day I wonder what all this will mean when we look back in ten years time, or twenty.

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Bright Green Comes to Copenhagen

Posted by 3p Contributor December 14th, 2009 1 Comment

road-to-copenhagenBy Lee Barken, IT practice leader at Haskell & White, LLP

A royal panel (left to right): Royal Prince Haakon of Norway, Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden, Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark

A royal panel (left to right): Royal Prince Haakon of Norway, Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden, Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark

Up the road from the COP15 Climate Conference and just outside of downtown Copenhagen, 170 exhibitors gathered this weekend for the 2-day Bright Green conference, to demonstrate that climate change is both a dangerous peril and a pathway to profits. Bright Green, a showcase organized by the Confederation of Danish Industry, aims to show that the emission reductions currently being negotiated at COP15 will require a myriad of new industry solutions.

Judging by the turnout, it would appear that industry is more then ready to step up to the challenge and that the 10,000 attendees were not deterred by silent protest messages, such as “our climate is not your business” and “greenwashing,”, etched in chalk on adjacent sidewalks and walls leading to the Copenhagen Forum Center.

Inside the building, a maze of trade show booths greeted the curious and energetic crowd.  The eclectic mix of exhibitors included alternative energy companies, consultants, solution providers, product manufacturers and trade delegations from countries such as Canada, Finland, Denmark, France and the United States.

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If You’re Feeling the COP15 Burnout, This Is the Satire for You

Posted by December 13th, 2009 2 Comments

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COP15 Activists at Work

COP15 Activists at Work

Don’t get me wrong, I am watching as eagerly as the rest of you. I’m thrilled that COP15 has garnered as much media attention as it has. It’s amazing. I don’t think that the consciousness of the world has ever been so fixated on a single environmental issue in my lifetime. It’s everything that I could hope for. But, I’ve been known to skim and article or two.

Who can blame me? There’s a ton of coverage, and not really much happening. David Roberts over at Grist put it best when discussing the non issue of the leaked Danish text:

Consider: Copenhagen maxed out on journalist registrations, at 5,000. (Supposedly there were more than 10,000 waiting in line after that.) The place is choked with journalists, not to mention folks from think tanks and NGOs who are supposed to be blogging. There are thousands of people crammed in a small area, all under instructions to update frequently with fresh news, all exhausted and stressed out, all hungry for something to write about.

On the flip side, virtually nothing of significance to an international agreement will be decided before the final days, perhaps the final hours, of the talks.

What are all those journalists going to write about?…. Most of all, they’ll report the hell out of it every time any representative of any government says anything about anything. Every bit of pre-positioning gossip and bluster will be blown up to billboard size. There is, in short, immense incentive to exaggerate the significance of every piece of “news.”

If you’re feeling the burn, this 2 minute bit of satire from NPR will be music to your ears.

[Image Credit]

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“Leaked Text” Shows Movement in Climate Talks – Heavy Lifting Remains

Posted by December 11th, 2009 1 Comment

Copenhagen - the whole world is watchingThe talk in the halls of the Bella Center this afternoon revolved around the so-called “leaked text” of  papers presented in plenary sessions by the chairs of both working groups (AWG-KP and AWG-LCA) that broadly outline the current “state of play” in COP15 negotiations, as UNFCCC executive secretary Yvo de Boer characterized it at today’s press briefing.

The specific text of the document was, at last check, still not “cleared for the press,” but the “word on the street” is for a 50 percent cut in global emissions by 2050 (no surprise there), and an aggregate emissions reduction of 25 percent from developed countries by 2020 (all targets referenced to 1990 levels). The 2020 mid-term target implies steeper cuts from developed nations than what has thus far been offered. (Update: draft texts are now available for the AWG-LCA andAWG-KP)

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News Brief: Is “Legally Binding” Back on the Table?

Posted by December 11th, 2009 1 Comment

COP15 - the whole world is watchingI am just now at a daily press briefing by Climate Action Network International at the COP15 climate conference in Copenhagen. Tove Ryding of Greenpeace has suggested that, in large part due to the actions this week of small island nations, especially Tuvalu, and other of the more vulnerable states that have demanded action aggressive action from the international community in the coming days in Copenhagen, that “legally binding” is now back on the table.

In a few minutes there will be the daily briefing from Yvo de Boer. It will be interesting to see what the official word from the UNFCCC will be.

Ministers begin arriving tomorrow for informal talks, and heads of state on Wednesday.

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