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What will Copenhagen mean for business?

All eyes are focused on world leaders as a last minute negotiating frenzy builds in snowy Copenhagen. But what of the people who are seeking to make money from combating climate change? A partial, malformed deal at Copenhagen is likely to create significant uncertainty in markets which could have undesirable consequences.

Back in May, things were warmer, the Bella Centre was less chaotic and at the World Business Summit on Climate Change the message was coherent and clear. Rooms full of executives repeatedly told us that business wants a price on carbon and business wants certainty about what happens next. Of course there is no single business interest when it comes to climate change, nor can there ever be real certainty about the future, but a modicum of stability and a global deal looked to be achievable back then.

The mood in Copenhagen in December is very different. I’ve spoken to investors in emissions trading; companies that specialise in bring avoided deforestation projects online and energy interests. Though no-one is quite sure what Copenhagen will mean for them, none are happy about the prospect of an incomplete outcome and many are facing significant short-term losses. Very few people seem interested in global emissions trading - regional or national schemes are the order of the day.

On the very first day of the conference I stood in line behind a group of traders, all of whom formerly worked for a well-known carbon-trading company. The company had laid off approximately half its staff in the past year. The former colleagues laughed about the good times and compared tales of their new lives with the likes of JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs.

Many in civil society would celebrate a crash in what they see as fraudulent markets in indulgencies. But hard questions need to be asked: what will happen to investment in clean technologies in the aftermath of this conference? Will Copenhagen be strong enough to base investment decisions on, or does the uncertainty create too much risk? Are we now in danger of becoming too reliant on already scarce government aid budgets? One thing is for sure, nobody is certain about anything.

 

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匿名 | Anonymous

碳交易不能真正成为解决气候变化方案的一部分

吹捧碳交易市场的团体对哥本哈根会议的失败尤其难辞其责。
还好,那些排放最少、却最易受气候变化影响的国家的民众对看起来冗长复杂、似是而非但却服务于提交国利益的提案似乎并没报多少怀疑态度。
我们需要对估值系统作修改,把环境成本纳入考量因素。消费碳排放(包括来自净进口和跨国交通的碳排放)应被纳入一国会计系统。我们应更多地强调质量而非数量,特别是在经济增长(气候变化的一大驱动力)问题上。

此评论由李雅婧Emily Yajing Li翻译

Carbon trading has no place in serious efforts to combat climate change

Those promoting carbon markets are particularly culpable for the failure of Copenhagen.

Fortunately, the people of countries which emit least and are most affected by climate change are not as susceptible to proposals which appear sophistcated but are largely specious and self-serving.

Value systems need to be modified so as to take environmental costs into account. Consumption emissions (including from net imports and international transportation) should be included in national accounting systems. Greater emphasis needs to be placed on quality than quantity - especially in repation to economic growth (a primary driver of climate change).