World Climate Summit Wrap Up: Business Drives Action on Climate Change

Climate December 14, 2010

The first inaugural World Climate Summit hosted over 800 business leaders with not only dynamic discussion that focused on clear recommendations and commitments, but new initiatives were also launched there, to rapidly accelerate our building of the global clean economy. We wrapped up last evening with a panel discussion hosted by CNN’s Becky Anderson and taped for her show, Earth’s Frontiers. President Felipe Calderon of Mexico, UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres, and Deutsche Bank Vice Chairman, Caio Koch-Weser, each discussed the science of climate change, the economic opportunities, and the imperative for action. As Program Chair, I’m honored to have been part of this critically important effort: we need business and government to be in much more direct communication: business informs government of what is possible (and it’s a lot more than governments think, at much less cost!), and helps to create the political environment conducive to government action. We need more business / government connection, and look forward to helping to enable much more to happen very soon.

To give you a flavor of the two days, I wanted to offer our video links at www.livestream.com/wclimate and www.youtube.com/wclimate, and the final press release that came out today: http://mim.io/8a1f7. You can find more at our website, www.worldclimatesummit.com. My full closing remarks follow:

World Climate Summit Wrap Up
By Aimee Christensen
Program Chair, World Climate Summit

Yesterday marked the debut of the first World Climate Summit – a global, collaborative 10 year platform to bring together leaders from industry, finance, science and government.

Our goal was to learn, share, strategize, and launch new initiatives to address climate change and build the global clean economy.
Your presence is a testament to the interest and momentum of industry and innovation to address climate change. In all, we are 800+/- registered attendees from five continents. We have had active discussions with 140+ speakers – all high-level experts in their industry and fields. We have heard international luminaries and pioneers like Richard Branson, Christiana Figueres, Ted Turner, Jose Maria Figueres, Mary Robinson, and Lord Stern.

The tenor of these past two days has been energized and positive. As Jose Maria Figueres noted “The war on climate change is too big to be left in the hands of government.”

In addition to the ever important information exchange and networking that comes of a high-caliber forum, our first Summit has witnessed a few important milestones:

First, the conference has had a clear call to action for business leaders to “Speak up and speak loudly.” In our opening panel on growing the global clean economy, our experts advised us to reconsider what we value. Is it money – right now? Or is it a broader concept of quality of life and opportunity and security, and if so, we must put a price on carbon, we must value nature’s services that underpin our prosperity and stability, and as Mary Robinson and Sir Nicholas Stern reminded us this morning, create a better future and more equitable shared prosperity for all.

We also witnessed the launch of specific new initiatives by our colleagues individually and together:
–    The Carbon War Room’s launch of the Gigaton Awards, the Oscars of low carbon industry where we recognized the outstanding accomplishments of companies such as Reckitt Benckiser, Nike, 3M, Vodafone, GDF Sues, and Suzlon.
–    OPIC will provide at least $300 million in financing for new private equity investment funds that could ultimately invest more than $1 billion in renewable resources projects in emerging market, representing one of the largest initiatives by the U.S. Government to support the international effort to mitigate climate change.
–    The Carbon War Room announced the first ever universal energy index for the shipping industry (www.shippingefficiency.org)
–    Avoided Deforestation Partners announced a fully approved Voluntary Carbon Standard methodology for avoided deforestation that will enable immediate flow of capital to projects that reduce deforestation rates. There is a pipeline of projects ready, reducing the wait time for such clarity of rules by at least one year if not two. It’s time to mobilize capital to protect forests, and the VCS and Avoided Deforestation Partners are letting us get started immediately.
–    Colin Turner of greenTEK ventures announced a $150m Mexico Fund dedicated to climate change mitigation in our host country
–    The Prince of Wales Leadership Group on Climate Change reminds us of true leadership, bringing business voices to government, with over 350 companies now signed on to the Cancun Communique, a powerful platform for business to together increase our impact.
–    Finally, thanks to the leadership of Casas Geo, we have the World Climate Initiative that we may each sign on to – a code of conduct for reductions of greenhouse gas emissions, integration of sustainability into core strategy, and leadership to drive change.

We would like to recognize and thank our gold, silver and bronze sponsors:
Danfoss, Seimens, Scotia Bank, Casas GEO, The Coca-Cola Company, Johnson Controls, Ernst and Young, Avon, Accenture, Vale, Duke Energy, Dow, Phillips, BMW, Deutsche Bank, SwissINSO, ZEP, and Dalberg.

Our media partners: Thomson Reuters, Dow Jones, Televisa, Time, CNN, Financial Times, Hub Culture, and E-Sharp.

And to all of our organizational partners: The Prince of Wales Corporate Leaders Group, The Climate Group, European Climate Foundation, UN Global Compact, Bright Green, the United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI), Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), The World Bank, The International Finance Corporation (IFC), the Club of Beijing, ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability, Sir Richard Branson’s Carbon War Room, Voluntary Carbon Standard (VCS), American Council on Renewable Energy, AREDAY, the Alliance to Save Energy, the Monterrey Institute of Technology (Academic Partner), the International Union of Railways, the Carbon Markets & Investors Association, CERES, JustMeans, ClimateAction, Ethical Corporation, Pipeline Clean Energy, REEEP (Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Partnership), Principles for Responsible Investment, FICCI, Investor Group on Climate Change, World Green Building Council, US Green Building Council, Investor Network on Climate Risk, Climate Wise, Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change (IIGCC), and the OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development).

Finally, as we look to the future, we will welcome everyone to Durban, South Africa next December at COP17, and we will be gathering in the EU, US, and Asia at least, in the coming year to bring in more collaborators, and launch more action. Thank you for joining us.
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