Cities and businesses should lead the way in global climate negotiations.
“Cities are where the battle to prevent catastrophic climate change will be won or lost”. That was the opening statement by Mark Watts, the executive director of the large-city network C40 at the panel discussion “COP21 – A Roadmap to Paris” held on 9 December 2014 at the House of Industry in Copenhagen at the occasion of Green Capital Days marking the hand over of the mantle from Copenhagen as European Environmental Capital 2014 to Bristol, UK, who holds the title in 2015.
He elaborated further by stating that big cities are the main contributors to the climate challenge but also leading the way in implementing new solutions. In relation to the global climate negotiations he stated that “countries talk but cities act”.
“If you want to walk fast – walk alone. If you want to walk far – walk together.” This African proverb contains a point made by DI’s Deputy Director General Thomas Bustrup that the global climate negotiations need ambitious cities and companies to show results to prove that a green transition is possible and economically feasible. But he pleeded that the ambitious players from cities and companies should collaborate strongly to ensure that the green agenda is also a growth agenda – and that the results achieved by individual fast movers are shared by a wider range of companies, cities and countries.
The debate included mayors of four big European cities: Copenhagen, Bristol, Lisbon and Oslo and leaders of four leading European firms with focus on the green agenda – Velux, Rambøll, Siemens and Danfoss.
They agreed that a close collaboration between cities and business is necessary and produces results where it is practices. A company representative said: “our relation should extend beyond the formal tendering process. However, this relation is often hampered by formal and informal barriers.” There is a need to share best practices on establishing joint development projects.
The city networks C40 and ICLEI and the mayors of Lisbon, Oslo, Bristol and Copenhagen agreed that cities have a special responsibility and interest in taking an active stance to dynamise the global climate negotiations towards achieving results at COP21 in Paris in 2015.
DI’s deputy director general Thomas Bustrup concluded: ”Business calls for reaching a global climate agreement at COP 21 in Paris in 2015. Businesses and cities worldwide are leading the way by developing products and solutions for greener and more energy efficient cities. Their experience should pave the way for an agreement in Paris.”