The Copenhagen Climate Council
May 2007 - December 2009
It was an interesting string of coincidences and events that led to the development of the Copenhagen Climate Council and my role leading its development and execution of activities. The story goes like this: In March 2007, I was working on the concept-development of the World Climate Solutions - an annual conference on clean-tech and climate solutions for the think tank Monday Morning -- and in town was the internationally acclaimed climate writer Tim Flannery from Australia (author of The Weather Makers among many other great books). He was speaking at an event that the Think Tank Monday Morning (that I worked for) had helped organize with Connie Hedegaard (former EU Commissioner on climate change, but back then she was the Danish Minister for Environment).
The day before the event it was announced that Denmark would host the historic COP15 in 2009 - the UN Summit that everyone thought would deliver a post-Kyoto legally binding climate treaty. In a meeting with Tim Flannery, Connie Hedegaard, Erik Rasmussen (Founder of Monday Morning), and myself, Tim asked Connie what she needed most to make the COP15 a success. “Strong support from the international business community”, she answered. Upon the conclusion of that meeting Erik, Tim, and I promised we would all do our best to deliver that.
Fast forward 6 weeks and, after a lot of hard work, we launched the Copenhagen Climate Council on May 30, 2007 at an international press conference with Connie, Tim, Sir Richard Branson and other high-level business leaders from the US, Asia-Pacific, and Europe. That was the beginning of the first amazing adventure of my career and almost 3 years of deep-diving into international climate policy while stressing the business case for a strong global deal.
The Copenhagen Climate Council was built around a mission of:
- Creating international awareness of the importance of the COP15
- Promoting constructive dialogue between government, business, and science.
- Inspiring global business leaders to see the business potential of a strong global deal
The Council Members
The Copenhagen Climate Council was comprised of 30 global climate leaders representing business, science, and public policy from all parts of the world. The members included Sir Richard Branson, Tim Flannery, Li Xialon (China Powers), Shai Agassi (Better Place), Lise Kongo (Novo Nordisk), and Steven Chu (U.S. Energy Secretary). Click here for a full list of members.
An ambitious Manifesto
To ensure that everyone knew what the CCC stood for politically and to stress that this was a very ambitious group of thought and business leaders (not a typical industry group setting the bar extremely low), we developed our Manifesto. It was published in November 2007 just before the UNFCCC COP13 Climate Change Conference in Bali. The Manifesto articulated a clear goal for the maximum level of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere by 2050.
Regional business and industry roundtables
To start a dialogue in the business communities in India, China, and the US on the importance of a strong global deal, we held meetings in Beijing, Mumbai, and Detroit while gathering politicians and negotiators with local industry leaders to address key issues and concerns. The Copenhagen Climate Council also met with US negotiators and the NDRC in Beijing to discuss the importance of a collaboration between the US and China.
Thought Leadership Series
The Thought Leadership Series presents a collection of inspirational, concise, and clearly argued pieces from some of the world's most renowned thinkers and business leaders on climate change. The rationale for the Thought Leadership Series was to change the focus from stating we have a problem to communicating the solutions to the problem, and secondly to show the potential and opportunities inherent in tackling climate change.
You can find the Though Leadership Series here.
UNFCCC Side-events and communication around COP-events
The Copenhagen Climate Council were present at the COP13 in Bali and COP14 in Poznan and all the UNFCCC climate meetings in Bonn. Here we organized side events that focused on the business case for a strong global deal.
Co-hosting science conference with CITRIS, UC Berkeley
On June 19, 2008, Copenhagen Climate Council and Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society (CITRIS) at UC Berkeley co-hosted an energy conference named Unlocking the Climate Code: Innovation in Climate and Energy. The aim of the conference was to identify the critical research and development achievements necessary for a successful transition to a low carbon economy.