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Business leaders: Progress in Copenhagen

Business leaders: Progress in Copenhagen but 2020 emission reduction targets will need to increase

The outline of a climate change agreement in Copenhagen should be welcomed for what it has achieved, according to New Zealand business leaders.

The agreement to hold temperature increases to 2 degrees will also require all developed countries, including New Zealand, to further increase their 2020 emissions reduction targets, the Chief Executive of the New Zealand Business Council for Sustainable Development, Peter Neilson.

Mr Neilson, who attended the COP15 Climate Change Conference as a member of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development’s delegation, says the outcome so far is welcome for what has been agreed:

• Developed and developing countries agreeing to a maximum temperature rise of 2 degrees
• $100 billion per year in finance from developed countries to help less developed countries adapt to climate change
• That all countries with commitments will have their emission reduction performance open to scrutiny.

To achieve the 25% to 40% emission reductions needed to hold temperature rises to 2 degrees will require all developed countries, including New Zealand, to increase their emission reduction targets.

“President Obama has been careful to move no further than what the US Senate is likely to support,” Mr Neilson says.

“The aim during 2010 is to make a legally binding agreement. In the US any agreement needs to be ratified by a two thirds majority of the US Senate.

“While there is considerable enthusiasm for action on climate change on the east and west coasts of the US, each state has two votes in the Senate. The Senators from mid west states, which have a dependence on coal, agriculture and traditional smokestack industries, will need to be persuaded their constituents will not be adversely impacted by an agreement on climate change or the introduction of an emissions trading scheme,” Mr Neilson says.


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