Business leaders, scientists and policymakers from around the world have joined forces to try to influence politicians negotiating a post-Kyoto deal at next year's UN Climate Conference
Business leaders, scientists and policymakers from around the world have joined forces to try to influence politicians negotiating a post-Kyoto deal at next year's UN Climate Conference in the Danish capital.
The newly formed Copenhagen Climate Council will include such prominent business leaders as Sir Richard Branson, founder and chief executive of Virgin Group, and Li Xiaolin, chairwoman and CEO of China Power.
Anders Eldrup, chief executive of Danish energy group DONG Energy and one of 25 leaders of the group, said it is important for business to have a voice in the UN climate talks because business will bear the brunt of any policy changes.
"If we are to switch over the society into low-carbon, then it's an entirely different way to operate industry, transportation and service companies," Eldrup said in an interview this week. "One needs to produce in an entirely different way, and it is the business community that will have to act."
The group plans several steps leading up to the December 2009 UN conference, including a climate meeting of its own -- the World Business Summit on Climate Change -- in May to craft "concrete recommendations for the politicians". Eldrup said the May gathering will bring together chief executives from 500 leading global companies that have shown leadership in addressing climate change.
In June this year, the group will co-host an international research conference in Copenhagen with California's Berkeley University, where top scientists will chart a course to prioritise spending and research into climate change.
Nordic energy group DONG Energy is itself involved in a number of projects aimed at finding new, more environmentally friendly, ways of doing things. The state-owned company recently signed a letter of intent with California-based Project Better Place to introduce electric cars to Denmark in the next few years. The cars will be powered by batteries charged by wind-power.
"We have very unusual conditions for this in Denmark because of all the windpower. We have between 15 to 20 percent of our electricity production coming from wind," Eldrup said. DONG Energy, along with its oil and gas and electricity production, is the world's largest offshore wind power operator, with several wind farms in Denmark and Britain.