After the plea made by Nobel Peace Laureates for a strong Copenhagen deal at their 10th summit in Berlin, , the Club of Madrid, the largest forum of former heads of state and government) held a special session on climate change at its 8th General Assembly and Annual Conference. The overall focus of this year’s conference was “The Political Dimensions of the World Economic Crisis: National Interests, Stability and Global Governance”.
GCI President Alexander Likhotal
Green Cross International President Alexander Likhotal and three other members of the Climate Change Task Force (CCTF)* participated in the special session which built on the work of the Club of Madrid’s Global Leadership for Climate Action (GLCA). A joint initiative of the United Nations Foundation and the Club of Madrid, GLCA consists of former heads of state and government as well as leaders in business, government and civil society from more than 20 countries. It seeks to mobilize political will for a comprehensive effective and fair global post 2012-climate agreement.
Cautioning against spreading scepticism regarding Copenhagen prospects, GCI President Alexander Likhotal said Copenhagen can still be turned into a break-through rather than a failure. “If the heads of state and government make a firm political commitment on targets and overall objectives, that will lay a recalibrated framework for UNFCCC negotiators to translate it into a legally binding agreement.”
“Time is short,” added Mr. Likhotal,” but it is more important that a legally binding agreement be based on latest science rather than misleading perceptions.”
Club of Madrid President and Climate Change Task Force member Ricardo Lagos chaired the session. Other panellists included Mohamed El-Ashry (Senior Fellow at the UN Foundation and CCTF member), Teresa Ribera Rodriguez, (Spanish Secretary of State for Climate Change), Martin Lees, (Club of Rome Secretary General and CCTF member) and Manuel Marin, President of the Iberdrola Foundation).
As the GLCA facilitator and advisor, Mohamed El-Ashry opened the session and provided an update on activities. Mr. Lagos and United Nations Foundation President Timothy E Wirth serve as GLCA Co-Chairs. In 2007, the GLCA published Framework for a Post-2012 Agreement on Climate Change, which called for four negotiating pathways focused on mitigation, adaptation, technology and finance. In June 2009, the GLCA published Facilitating an International Agreement on Climate Change: Adaptation to Climate Change, which focuses more specifically on adaptation and its links to development and poverty.
Teresa Ribera Rodriguez observed that the current climate change negotiations are a “laboratory of the new decision making process.” She emphasised that the current distrust between the G7 and the developing countries needs to be bridged in order for agreement to be reached.
In his intervention, Martin Lees highlighted the fact that climate change represents an interconnected problem that impacts not just the environment but development and security. He also stressed that the world is lagging behind in assessing the true challenges of climate change.
Manuel Marin, representing the business sector, observed that the geographical location of the business normally explained the business position. He added that it is still not clear whether and how Copenhagen will involve the business community. “If Copenhagen provides a stable framework for the investment process, it can drive business.”