An unsuccessful outcome at Copenhagen will have a detrimental impact on business

26 November 2009

Contacts

Over three quarters of business respondents involved in aspects of environmental, sustainability and climate change issues believe if Copenhagen fails it will have a detrimental impact on their business

Success or failure
  • 79% think an unsuccessful outcome at Copenhagen will have a detrimental impact on business
  • 70% believe the US government’s position on negotiations is the most significant barrier to an agreement being successfully negotiated at Copenhagen
  • 72% believe the negotiations will be a ‘compromised success’
The most significant global issue
  • 60% of respondents felt climate change should be a more significant priority than the global economic crisis
  • 85% respondents believe that an unsuccessful outcome at Copenhagen will have a significant impact on the future ability to tackle climate change successfully
  • 98% believe strong political leadership will be required
  • 90% say their organisation is committed to combating climate change
The Business Opportunities
  • 96% say there are business opportunities in their country as a result of the drive to reduce carbon emissions
  • 92% respondents can see business opportunities in their own organisation as a result of the drive to reduce carbon emissions

The survey “The Hopes for Copenhagen” is based on 114 individual responses from people involved in all aspects of the environmental, sustainability and climate change issues in their business. The survey took place from 2 November to 13 November 2009 to canvas the views of climate change stakeholders on the perceived consequences to their business of the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 15) in Copenhagen, 7-18 December 2009.

Anthony Hobley, partner and Head of Climate Change & Carbon Finance, Norton Rose LLP, London said:

“If any agreement, in whatever form, post Copenhagen is to be successful it will require the private sector to provide up to around 85% of the funds necessary to tackle climate change. The overriding insight we gained is that whilst business is committed to combating climate change, the negotiators are not adequately engaging with them to ensure the regimes that result from the negotiations are sufficiently attractive to private sector finance. It is therefore imperative at this stage to listen and actively involve business in the negotiating process. Without the business community mobilising sufficient funds any agreement will not be capable of being effective and the necessary global reduction in emissions will not be achieved”.

Success or failure

The commercial stakes are high for a successful agreement at Copenhagen. 79% think an unsuccessful outcome at Copenhagen will have a detrimental impact on business.

The respondents were given four options as to what would be the significant barriers to an agreement being successfully negotiated: the US government’s position on negotiations (70%); the Brazil, Russia, India and China (BRIC) countries negotiating positions (44%); lack of assistance for least developed countries (23%) or unrealistic emissions targets (17%). Most respondents identified the US government’s position on negotiations, making it the most significant barrier. Unrealistic emissions targets were selected the fewest times and are therefore the least significant barrier.

The importance of Copenhagen is undisputed with 94% saying the negotiations could have a significant or very significant effect on combating climate change. However, 72% believe the negotiations will not reach beyond a ‘compromised success’, with 26% predicting failure.

The most significant global issue

World leaders have called for a comprehensive, ambitious and fair international climate change deal. Negotiators are struggling to reach agreement and politicians continue to debate. Whilst the G20 agreed a stimulus package for the global economic crisis, the same coordinated approach has not been possible for climate change. The overwhelming majority of respondents however felt that governments should prioritise climate change over the global economic crisis.

Respondents were almost unanimous in their agreement that strong political leadership will be required. What was encouraging was that 90% of respondents felt that their organisation was committed to combating climate change.

The Business Opportunities

Almost all respondents see that there are plenty of opportunities to come from carbon change matters.

The results in the survey clearly demonstrate that business opportunities exist as a result of the drive to reduce carbon emissions. Nearly all respondents identified opportunities for their country and their own business.

Norton Rose Group’s energy practice brings clarity of focus to this sector with a dedicated global climate change and carbon finance team. With a commercial and pragmatic ethos committed to adding value, we play a leading role in carbon credit generation projects, carbon trading and advising on climate change policy and regulation.

For further information please contact:

Sean Twomey, head of public relations

+44(0)20 7444 3740 sean.twomey@nortonrose.com

+44 (0)7921 604892

Sarah Webster, public relations manager

+44(0)20 7444 5942 sarah.webster@nortonrose.com

+44 (0)77 2535 0425

About the survey

This survey is based on 114 individual responses from people involved in all aspects of the environmental, sustainability and climate change issues in their business. The survey took place from 2 November to 13 November 2009 to canvas the views of climate change stakeholders on the perceived consequences to their business of the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 15) in Copenhagen, 7-18 December 2009.