COP16: Mad – Bad – or Sad?

As late last week the UNFCCC shot down the business community’s proposal for an enhanced engagement with the UNFCCC process, businesses struggle to get their messages across during the Cancun meetings. As the negotiators continued to deliberate in the Moon Palace, the businesses gathered for the Global Business Day on Monday.

There, in a great session on the role and achievements of the so called Mexican Dialogues, i.e. processes that the Mexican Government introduced this year in order to progress negotiations in three areas: Finance, Markets and Technology, Russell Mills of Dow introduced three questions:

  • Are they [at the Moon Palace] mad?
  • Are we [the business community] bad?
  • Will we all end up sad?

To explain the mad question: the business sector is mainly results driven, and to arrive at results, the businesses have many rules. When results don’t flow, the business is forced to change the rules. However, even though the UNFCCC’s results are not going the right direction, there isn’t a willingness to change the rules.

As Einstein once said: to keep using the same methods and hope for different results is mad.

Business has been bad in their communication to UNFCCC and their national government throughout the year. The business community isn’t as well organised as for example environmental groups.

And finally, we will all end up sad, if the negotiators and the business community don’t work collectively.

The Kyoto Protocol is focussing on the past burdens rather than solutions for the future. Businesses should help the developing countries to learn from our mistakes and not make the same ones again. Together we can leapfrog to a low carbon future.

All in all, Russell concluded with saying that he’s really glad because the Mexican Dialogues were initiated and the business community had an opportunity to participate, through the WBCSD.

Maaike & Eva in Cancun (REEEP Southeast Asia and Pacific)

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