Members of the Climate Change Task Force (CCTF) provided insight into the climate change negotiations at a side event in Copenhagen 16 December amidst the chaos of a day of protests.
GCI President and Task Force Member Alexander Likhotal moderated the session, which included Ricardo Lagos, UN Special Envoy on Climate Change & President, Club of Madrid; Michel Jarraud, Secretary General, World Meteorological Organization; Dr. Hamadoun Toure, Secretary-General, International Telecom Union and Mohamed El-Ashry, Senior Fellow, UN Foundation.
Two other Task Force Members (Ian Dunlop, Independent Governance & Sustainability Advisor and William Becker, Executive Director, US Presidential Climate Action Project) were scheduled to take part in the discussion but were unable to access the conference center after protests, which resulted in the closure of the Bella Center for NGO representatives. Maurice Strong was also scheduled to take part in the event but cancelled due to the unstable situation in the city.
Alexander Likhotal opened the discussion by providing some background on the CCTF and alerting the audience that currently the business as usual approach is prevailing. Before giving the floor to Ricardo Lagos, he pointed out “without a visionary approach, we cannot move ahead.”
Ricardo Lagos gave an overview of the Club of Madrid activities on climate change and his views on the negotiations. He went on to outline the important roles the EU, US and Japan can play in advancing proposals but he cautioned that there is still a long way to go.
Michel Jarraud provided the scientific perspective as head of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). He outlined the history and role of the WMO in the climate change negotiations, drawing specifically on the outcome of the 3rd World Climate Conference, held in August 2009 in Geneva. The conference ended by adopting a global framework for climate services, which is built on 4 pillars: observation, research, knowledge transfer into services and providing services to those in need. In conclusion he explained the need for decisions to be informed by science and that any deal in Copenhagen should be based on the latest science.
Dr. Hamadoun Toure outlined how Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) are a vital part of any solution to climate change. “Innovation is the human brain,” he said. “It is an equally distributed resource but each government has the responsibility of utilizing and training the brains.” In his opinion, Dr. Toure finds the Copenhagen conference can already be considered a success in the way that the world has been sensitized to climate change.
“We will go home now and teach our children not to brush their teeth with the water on and every citizen can make a contribution,” he said. “That will make a difference. Individual contributions when put together can make a big difference.”
Mohamed El-Ashry then gave an overview of critical role of finances in supporting climate change solutions. While government / taxpayer funded solutions are important, the scale of problems we face is out of proportion with what any government, no matter how powerful can support. Hence the role of private capital is key. He pointed out that in certain circumstances it is possible to raise up to 10 or 11$ of private capital for every dollar of state financing. He pointed out that not all developing countries are created equal and when talking of private finance, developing countries are considered high risk, which can be a significant roadblock for capital inflows. In this context he pointed out to the need for developing countries to receive support in building a policy framework that will allow them to raise private finance.
About: The Climate Change Task Force (CCTF) is an independent, non-governmental committee comprised of leading international climate change thinkers, scientists as well as former and current Heads of State calling upon civil society and the public at large to urgently engage in the climate debate. Under the leadership of GCI Founding President Mikhail Gorbachev, the CCTF consolidates the efforts of organizations like the Nobel Peace Laureates Forum, the Club of Madrid and the Club of Rome in bringing about urgent and radical climate action.