As I write this I'm sitting in the Plenary Session of the COP15 waiting for things to get underway. Just me and roughly 3,000 of my closest friends. Security was ratcheted down today because the various Ministers and Heads of State that are arriving, but there are still thousands of people. The Danish police manage to effect an interesting balance, they are exceedingly polite and somewhat menacing at the same time: they are here in very large numbers.
I have arrived in Copenhagen and my first impression is most favorable. Like a lot of visitors and participants in COP15, I immediately noticed how “livable” this city is. A clean beautiful train whisks you from the airport to Central Station where numerous hotels are within walking distance.
Good luck to the Conference of Parties in Copenhagen! I have the privilege of traveling there over the weekend as part of a delegation organized by California’s Climate Action Reserve and its program arm, the Center for Climate Action. This delegation of over 100 individuals includes business people, state and local officials and staff (including Governor Schwarzenegger, two other U.S. governors and two Canadian premiers).
Contrary to Nostradamus and the movies “2012” and “The Road” …. (drumroll please) I am predicting that the world will NOT end anytime soon. While we live in an era of unprecedented environmental challenges, we are also innovating solutions faster than at any time in the history of the planet.
Being an optimist at heart, the Conference of Parties at Copenhagen (also known as “COP15”) will produce a political “framework” for a new climate change treaty.
Given the increasing discussion around cap-and-trade in the United States (U.S.) in the lead up to COP15, many members of the media have been asking for Applied’s perspective on the impact of a "price" for carbon on business. Politics aside, it's important to recognize that while carbon may not currently have a "price" it does have a cost — we're just not accounting for it.
As Americans we don’t shrink from challenges, we embrace them. In the 19th century, we united the nation’s economy with the first transcontinental railroad. In the 20th century, we powered the Southwest with the largest hydroelectric power station in the world. We recognized that these challenges were not merely about laying track or building a dam, but about securing the future of our nation.
The question of how we will create, store and use energy is the great challenge of the 21st century. It threatens our economy, our security and our planet.
The New York Times is out today with their Special Section on the "Business of Green". The section is well worth a read. In particular, Applied's Mark Pinto is featured in a piece about the COP15 and the role that governments must play in helping make renewables a meaningful part of the global energy mix. Pinto was also featured earl