May 26, 2009

Green Industry Seeks Aid For Low-Carbon Growth

Executives from top "green" companies on Tuesday said governments must turn away from fossil fuels when they sign a new climate pact to replace the Kyoto Protocol in December, Reuters reported.

They are calling for tough targets to slash carbon emissions.

Executives from pro-green businesses issued a statement, welcomed by Denmark's Prime Minister, asking for aid to help clean technologies replace fossil fuels.

Lars Lokke Rasmussen, prime minister of a country which gets a fifth of its power from wind, and which hosts the U.N.-led climate negotiations in December, said low-carbon growth is the only way forward and the world should no longer depend on fossil fuels.

He told more than 500 executives attending the May 24-26 World Business Summit on Climate Change that bringing low-carbon products to the markets was the "key to reshaping the world".

A final statement prepared by a "Copenhagen Climate Council" of 12 chief executives, as well as academics and development groups, called for greenhouse gases to peak within a decade.

The chiefs of DONG Energy, Vestas, Duke Energy, Virgin Group, Suntech Power and others took part in the statements authoring.

The statement, in its "Copenhagen Call," said the new climate treaty must push the development of new technologies through public funds.

It also stated that governments should strive to end subsidies that favor high emissions from transport and energy infrastructure.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said green technology was an opportunity. He addressed business leaders at the meeting to lobby governments for low-carbon support instead of against high-carbon penalties.

"Achieving a 20 percent share for renewables could mean more than a million jobs in this industry by 2020," said European Commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso.

However, some have questioned the motives of big business, saying they talked green while carrying on as normal, for example investing in fossil fuels.

James Rogers, the chief executive of U.S. utility Duke Energy, said on Tuesday he might be building his last two coal plants in order to focus on nuclear power instead.

Shai Agassi, chief executive of electric car infrastructure company Better Place, called for more support for innovators.

"Water resources have dried out to the point where they're now affecting the future of some of our cities. I've seen our agriculture wither and decline," said Australian scientist and campaigner Tim Flannery, one of the conference organizers, who said climate change was harming his home country.

The United States, China, the European Union, Russia, India and Japan, met on in Paris on Tuesday to seek common ground ahead of the December conference to replace the Kyoto Protocol.