Climate change

ICC optimistic progress can be made at Copenhagen climate summit

  • 4 December 2009

With negotiations for a climate change convention reaching a critical moment, ICC believes progress can be made on an agreement that will include action by major emitters, support intellectual property rights, and keep all energy options open.

It should also require signatory countries to develop and report progress on their national climate strategies.

“Negotiations have been difficult to date, but real progress is being made. We encourage all parties to focus their energies and take the time necessary to get the agreement right – one that contributes to economic recovery, works with open markets and trade, and unleashes the innovation and investment of global business,” ICC Secretary General Jean Rozwadowski said.

The global business organization believes strongly that it is particularly important that advancement towards a UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Copenhagen this month must include action by all major greenhouse gas emitters, without whom long-term climate goals simply cannot be achieved.

As the difficult negotiations to date show, attaining broader participation will not be easy, but this step must be taken now. To be effective, the new agreement will need to stimulate and ramp up technological innovation and private sector investment in technology development and deployment in developed and developing countries.

“As a leading supporter of open, multilateral rules-based trade, we believe an inclusive agreement that comprises action from all major emitting parties is the best way to avoid distortions to competitiveness and steer clear of harmful trade restrictions,” Mr Rozwadowski added.

The agreement should also provide strong support for intellectual property rights (IPR), which are indispensable for technological innovation and deployment. The existing international IPR regime provides a sound balancing of the incentives for private parties to innovate, and includes appropriate escape valves for emergencies. ICC believes that open trade works in concert with IPR to enable broad dissemination of cleaner technologies and know-how.

“It is also imperative to avoid technology restrictions or exclusions, in particular in developing existing and proposed new market mechanisms,” remarked Laurent Corbier, Chairman of the ICC Environment and Energy Commission.

A fourth key point for international business in any new climate change agreement is the development of robust and ambitious national strategies with strong compliance measures. In business, day-to-day operations are conducted under national, state and local legislation and regulations, as well as in keeping with international norms. A framework founded on and recognizing clearly enunciated national strategies will lead to faster, more concrete policies that businesses can incorporate into their business strategies.

ICC believes that by requiring countries to develop and report progress on their climate change policies, compliance will be improved and business, the public and all stakeholders will shape a more transparent, robust and pragmatic understanding of current and future policy trends.

“The post-Copenhagen negotiations and the resulting framework agreement should engage business as much as possible and far more than in the past,” Mr Rozwadowski said. “Going forward, ICC hopes to see the creation of more effective ways for the UNFCCC to benefit from business’ expertise and actions.”