Goodluck to the Conference of Parties in Copenhagen!
I have the privilegeof traveling there over the weekend as part of a delegation organizedby California’s Climate Action Reserveand its program arm, the Center for Climate Action. This delegation ofover 100 individuals includes business people, state and localofficials and staff (including Governor Schwarzenegger, two other U.S.governors and two Canadian premiers).
What do I expect to see and hear in Copenhagen? I am embarking uponthis trip with equal measures of fascination and trepidation. I amfascinated by the notion that 100+ national governments can convene ameeting aimed at solving a global problem of enormous dimensions. I amuncertain how much insight I will be able to glean from being “close tothe action”, but I am hopeful that being an official “observer”translates into some sharper insights.
I will also carry the flag for Applied Materials. In fact, here area few points about Applied Materials’ stake in the conference and ourposition on the underlying issues:
- Applied Materials is supportive of the negotiation process andhopeful an agreement can be reached, if not next week then in the nearfuture.
- International business has a direct stake in the process as thereis a clear linkage between climate policy and clean technologydevelopment. Clean energy will be one of the biggest creators of jobsand economic development this century, and the key to creatingsustainable demand is smart, strong policy.
- Applied Materials has been an active participant in the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Task Force on Low-Carbon Prosperityand supports the recommendations made by the Task Force earlier thisyear. The companies comprising WEF’s Climate Change Steering Committee,including Applied Materials, have been clear: a successor agreement toKyoto that establishes stronger national targets and accompanyinginternational mechanisms to facilitate achievement of those targets isneeded now.
- The United States (U.S.)c an be a leader in the low-carbon economy, but only if we choose to lead.
- Applied’s priorities in the energy/climate area are a:
- Stronger renewable electricity standard (RES) than is in current legislation that includes graduated targets along the way.
- Well-funded “green bank” or similar mechanism to provideno/low-cost financing for renewable energy projects; the “Clean EnergyDevelopment Authority” in current federal legislation does this and wesupport it,
- Mechanism to price CO2, whether through a cap-and-trade system, carbon tax or other policy instrument, and
- Variety of other policy changes, including tax credits, nationalinterconnect and net-metering standards, increased governmentprocurement of renewable energy and so on.
What is causing my trepidation? An acquaintance already inCopenhagen claims the town is a ‘zoo’ at the moment! Long lines toregister, long queues to buy a sandwich, standing room only at many ofthe side events, access to the plenary sessions has been restricted,not to mention human behaviors that could leave attendees shaking theirheads. I will be reporting from the event following my arrival and willlet you know whether my hopes or fears (or both) are justified. Wish meluck!