In tweets: Highlights from the Global Climate Change Forum

By Tierney Smith

Government needs to set an example – and business will follow.

That was the conclusion from the 2012 Global Climate Change Forum, which brought leaders from industrial and financial sectors together to discuss the challenge posed by climate change.

International Energy Agency (IEA) Chief economist Fatih Birol highlighted the urgency of the issue, warning that the world is currently on a trajectory to warm by six degrees, four degrees above what scientists would be a critical temperature.

“Efforts in the EU are important in setting leadership but in terms of reducing carbon dioxide they do not matter that much,” he said. “If there are no major changes in investment by 2017 then the door to 2C will be closed forever”.

Paul Abberley from Aviva Investors suggested that public awareness in the UK on carbon markets and climate change was “next to zero,” while Schroders Senior Advisor Alan Brown ended a surreal part of the discussion by calling for direct action and protests.

The Forum was followed around the world on Twitter, using the hashtag #CDPforum – we’ve curated a selection of what we believe are the key points from a fascinating debate.


Six degrees of pain

The IEA’s chief economist left viewers in no doubt as to the seriousness of the current situation.

 

Investing in clean-tech

Discussions moved to the levels of current investments in renewable technologies. We know the energy system requires long-term investments, but in order for companies to take that risk, there must be political stability and a clear message from the top of government.

 

Elephant in the room

Alan Brown, Chief Investment Officer at Schroders consumption must be tackled as billions of people in the developing world continue to aspire to live like Americans…

 

Perceptions of risk

Big business says it recognises the risks associated with climate change, but is this concern shared around the world – and perhaps more importantly – does it reach down to all levels of business? One key message that came through was that it’s the middle management positions who need to be convinced.

 

Transparency 

Given today’s sponsors – the Carbon Disclosure Project – focus on reporting, it was perhaps no surprise that a large part of the debate was focused on this issue. But again and again the issue of clarity and transparency emerged. And while today’s focus is on Environmental Reporting, the future is looking integrated.

 

Collective action

No one country, or one business can do it alone. Speakers stressed that companies should not get in the way of regulation and collectively demand it from governments when they are being too slow.

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