Where does big business fit into Copenhagen 15?

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A strange day in Copenhagen today. More and more people arriving and the building and the incredibly generous and helpful Danes straining to cope. The Bella Center beginning to look like a scene from a science fiction movie where the whole of humanity takes off from earth into some kind of space vehicle. The rumor, counter rumor, the side shows, the side events, the spontaneous demonstrations in the corridors, the more planned but no less emotional demonstrations by delegations in the plenary and working groups: is there life outside?

There were signs of life at Business Day in downtown Copenhagen. Here gathered the business lobby who believes it is part of the solution and who is straining in an atmosphere where it has no place at the international table, though it does at the national level. Yvo de Boer questioned how effective it has been so far both in letting national delegations know what it needs and what it can do, as well as how effective it can be in face of parts of the business lobby that clearly wants no agreement. 

Clearly stung by this criticism (received as unfair), the CEO of Vestas, commenting at the Cool Green dinner, highlighted the mixed messages: the demonstrators outside who say business has too much influence and the secretary of the convention who says it has no role and is an ineffective voice.

The keynote: Gary Locke, US Secretary of Commerce. He noted that US industry splits - with those poised to be part of a lower carbon growth scenario in the US and abroad juxtaposed with those who are part of a past that has served them well, but which cannot be our future. His message: US industry should call off the lobbyists and call in the engineers. 

Back at Bella Center, a dearth of financial engineers means the financial architecture debate becomes more and more surreal. The good news: the text in one of the key working groups cut from 130 pages to 6. Its going to be a long weekend...


Rachel Kyte

Vice President and Special Envoy for Climate Change

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