COP15 kicks off

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COP15 is generating plenty of press with more to come as the vested interest gloves come off in the US. There today they are fighting for the status quo and argue climate change is a myth.

But the options are unpalatable if they are wrong so the world leaders do need to agree on reduction measures that will surely also mean change our excessive way of living.

COP15 agreement is the step needed to make that happen so the work can really begin

Nick Main Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu (DTT) Global Leader, Climate Change & Sustainability is on the ground at the the Copenhagen Climate conference . His blog is worth subscribing to. Here is a copy of his latest update on proceedings.

9 December 2008

Swinging into full gear

Negotiations at the 15th Conference of Parties (COP15) got down to action today, as controversy swirled around the release of what’s being described as a working draft of a Copenhagen agreement being proposed by developed nations. Comments we have heard suggest that developing countries should not be surprised at the existence of this paper as there are apparently several in circulation and their existence had been well signaled.

The document emerged at a time when it could have potentially caused maximum disruption, but the ripples seem to be dying away slowly. The paper is not an official United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) document, and despite the press around negative reactions from developing nations (including a planned response from the G77 led by China and Brazil), a working agreement at the COP still remains within reach.

Amidst the noise around this paper, technical groups are quietly getting on with the comparatively uncontroversial business of hammering out the details that will underlie whatever political accord is reached. For the next few days, many crucial negotiations on issues such as finance, technology, and adaptation will occur in private. Accordingly, news flow will likely be muted, with key developments being discussed in ad hoc exchanges rather than transacted on the front pages. The ground is being prepared for next week. Deloitte* attendees are also watching key conversations around such sector-specific issues as whether the International Maritime Association will set targets for the shipping industry or whether the UNFCCC will craft such targets.

As the machinery of COP15 swung into full gear, side events began in earnest yesterday as well. Attendees from Deloitte member firms had the pleasure of watching Pat Concessi of Deloitte Canada engage in a lively conversation about the nature of climate change risk with representatives from companies such as Point Carbon and Trucost.

Concessi’s presentation focused on how various policy levers (such as allocation levels and offsetting provisions) can affect the degree to which companies may incur costs as carbon regulation develops. Noting a wide range of possible risks that companies may face—from technological risk to reputational and operational risks—she showcased data quantifying potentially palpable financial impacts to the bottom line of energy companies. Today, Concessi speaks on both greenhouse gas reporting challenges and developments on measurement, reporting, and verification across schemes—complex topics likely to elicit a host of implications for companies.

On the lighter side, another surprise attendees have encountered in Copenhagen is the generally calm street scene. Thus far, one is more likely to encounter Danish families placidly going about their holiday shopping than any sort of visible activism. Will this sanguine mood persist as dialogue around the issues intensifies? Only time will tell.

Nick Main
Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu (DTT) Global Leader,
Climate Change & Sustainability

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