The Politics of Climate Change Agreement

6 July 2009 00:00 to 8 July 2009 00:00

Chatham House, London



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Join this high-level debate on the politics of reaching a multilateral climate change agreement in 2009, what the elements of a deal might be, and what the alternatives are if a deal is not reached.

Can agreement be reached on a new climate deal in Copenhagen in 2009?

Since the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) meeting in Bali in December 2007, the UNFCCC negotiations have emerged as the most likely forum for international agreement on climate change action. But the deadline for reaching agreement is at the UN meeting in Copenhagen at the end of 2009 in order to have a treaty in place when the Kyoto treaty expires in 2012.

There is now some international consensus, but there is much still to be settled that requires unprecedented levels of international co-operation. This conference will focus on the politics of reaching agreement, and will ask:

  • where there may be the need for collaboration and compromise
  • what the alternatives are if agreement is not reached
  • what the roles of major players such as China and Russia will be
  • whether the USA's new administration can put a strategy in place in time to reach agreement in 2009
  • whether developing countries can achieve an equitable deal
  • whether global economic recession will create an opportunity to finance low carbon development; a 'new green deal'.

This conference will be held under the Chatham House Rule. Information for journalists >>

Press can request a press pass using the form below.

DAY ONE Monday 6 July 2009

Opening remarks
Bernice Lee
Research Director for Energy, Environment and Resource Governance
Chatham House

Hans Joachim Schellnhuber
Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK)

Opening Keynote Address
Halldor Thorgeirsson (on the record)
Bali Road Map Support
United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)

Questions and discussion

Session One
Defining Success on Climate Change Agreement

This session will define the success of agreement at the UNFCCC's meeting in Copenhagen in December 2009.

  • What are the parameters for success on a climate change agreement?
  • Based on prevailing scientific opinion, what are the essential elements of multilateral climate change agreement to avoid dangerous climate change? What are the basic minimum targets that should be met in the agreement? What should the timing be?
  • What would be the impact of a less ambitious deal on climate security?
  • What are credible targets - tough enough to have an impact, realistic to implement? For rich countries? For poor countries?

Keynote Speaker
Hans Joachim Schellnhuber (on the record)
Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK)

Graeme Sweeney
Executive Vice President
Future Fuels & CO2
Shell International Petroleum Co Ltd

Nick Mabey
Chief Executive
E3G Third Generation Environmentalism

Questions and discussion

11.05 Refreshments

Session Two
Making the Politics Work

This session will outline the main political challenges to reaching agreement.

  • What is the state of play of the UN discussions politically? Will agreement be reached in Copenhagen at the end of 2009?
  • What national targets are rich countries (the EU, USA, Australia, Japan) likely to agree to meet, using which baselines, and by when? What policies and measures will developed countries ask developing countries to adopt?
  • How quickly is the new US administration deciding on its priorities for climate change? Will the US Congress be ready to ratify an international climate treaty?
  • Will governments persevere in putting a price on carbon? How ambitious will developed countries be in the light of business concerns about competition from non-signatories, especially in a recession? Will governments be bold enough with carbon pricing to incentivize investment in clean technology? Can this be reconciled with business clamouring for regulatory clarity?
  • What will developing and least developed countries ask for in order to reach agreement? Developing countries have agreed to deviate from business as usual (BAU), but when by? How will 'common but differentiated responsibilities' be interpreted?
  • The respective roles of China, Russia, and the USA in reaching international agreement.

Dr Robin Niblett
Chatham House

Keynote Speakers
Joan Ruddock MP (on the record)
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State
Department for Energy and Climate Change, UK

Questions and discussion

Ambassador Kevin Conrad (on the record)
Prime Minister's Special Envoy & Ambassador for Environment and Climate Change
Department of the Prime Minister and National Executive Council
Papua New Guinea

Questions and discussion

12.25 Lunch

Making the Politics Work (continued)

Rob Bradley
Director of International Climate Policy
World Resources Institute


Rosario Bento Pais
Deputy Head of Unit
DG Environment, European Commission

Elliot Diringer
Vice President, International Strategies
Pew Center on Global Climate Change

Anna Korppoo
Senior Researcher
Finnish Institute of International Affairs

Roland Verstappen
Vice President, International Affairs,

Questions and discussion

15.45 Refreshments

Moderated panel discussion: Achieving a 450ppm pathway: the abatement, financing and mechanisms required

Dr Tomas KÃ¥berger
Swedish Energy Agency


Jules Kortenhorst
Chief Executive Officer
The European Climate Foundation

Elliot Diringer
Vice President, International Strategies
Pew Center on Global Climate Change

Nitin Desai
Distinguished Fellow
The Energy and Resources Institute, India

Bernice Lee
Research Director for Energy, Environment and Resource Governance
Chatham House

17.30 End of day and drinks reception hosted by Chatham House

DAY TWO Tuesday 7 July 2009

Session Three
Elements of the Deal

This session will focus on the crucial elements of a global climate change deal.

  • What are the essential elements and which elements are important but add-ons? Which elements will be supported by which negotiators?
  • How would the elements work and achieve scale?
  • What are the mechanisms and how can they be measured, reported, and verified (MRV-ed)?
    • How will they be financed?
  • Technology Transfer
    o How can the parties to the conference get beyond deadlock on technology transfer?
  • Forest finance and Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD)
  • Sectoral approaches
  • The Clean Development Mechanism (CDM)

Michael Grubb
Visiting Professor of Climate Change and Energy Policy
Imperial College, London


Martin Khor
Executive Director
The South Centre

John Lanchbery
Principal Climate Change Advisor
Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB)/ Birdlife

Vincent Mages
Vice President, Climate Change Initiatives

Henry Derwent
President and CEO
International Emissions Trading Association

Panel discussion
Martin Khor

John Lanchbery

Vincent Mages

Henry Derwent

Vanessa Havard-Williams
Global Head of Environment and Climate Change

Guy Ryder
General Secretary
International Trade Union Confederation

10.50 Refreshments

High Level Finance Panel

  • How are government economic stimuli to shift investment and financial flows into low carbon technologies and infrastructure working?
  • Within the UN process, what are the tools and mechanisms that can and will enhance financing for mitigation, adaptation and technology co-operation?
    o Allocation, access, modes of disbursement and MRV-ing delivery of financial support
    o The roles of international public finance, and national public sector and private sector finance

Kirsty Hamilton
Associate Fellow
Chatham House

Keynote Speaker
Achim Steiner (on the record)
Executive Director
United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)

Questions and discussion

Moderated Panel Discussion

Achim Steiner
Executive Director
United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)

Dr Tomas KÃ¥berger
Swedish Energy Agency

Ambassador Abdalmahmood Abdalhaleem Mohamad
Permanent Representative of the Republic of the Sudan to the United Nations and
Chairman of the Group of 77

Nitin Desai
Distinguished Fellow
The Energy and Resources Institute, India

Richard Burrett
Earth Capital Partners LLP

12.40 Lunch

Session Four
Beyond the Deal:
Targets, timing, implementation, and complementary action

  • How ambitious will agreement at Copenhagen manage to be?
  • Are the political and economic conditions right for reaching agreement? What is the extent of political commitment of the main players to reach agreement? Which governments see agreement as being in their broader economic interest?
  • How specific does agreement need to be? What is fundamental to agreement, and what, given the amount of detail that has yet to be addressed or resolved, can be settled after agreement? Can a principal agreement and its mechanisms be in place, with defining action to be settled after 2009?
  • What needs to be done to enhance ratification and implementation?
  • What are the complementary and supporting routes to agreement on climate action? The EU Presidency? The G8? Bilateral agreements between major players?
  • How effective will governments' green stimulus packages be?
  • What will business do if agreement is not reached?
  • What political, regulatory and fiscal frameworks are necessary to deliver low carbon regimes?

Nick Mabey
Chief Executive
E3G Third Generation Environmentalism

Expert panel

Christian Hald-Mortensen
Advisor, International Coordination (COP-15)
Ministry of Climate and Energy

Tom Delay
Chief Executive
The Carbon Trust

Mark Kenber
Policy Director
The Climate Group

Rob Bradley
Director of International Climate Policy
World Resources Institute

15.15 Refreshments and end of conference

© The Royal Institute of International Affairs, 2009

This conference will offer a unique opportunity to network with senior officials from businesses, government and academic institutions.

Our previous Climate Change conference 'A New Global Climate Deal?' in June 2008 saw delegates from the following companies and institutions:

Action for a Global Climate Community
Africa Practice Ltd
Amnesty International (International Secretariat)
Arup Associates Ltd
Australian High Commission
Austrian Federal Economic Chamber
Baltic Sea Solutions
BG Group plc
Bolivian Embassy
Booz & Co
BP Alternative Energy Limited
BP plc
British Council
C40 Cities
Cabinet Office
Canadian High Commission
Carbon Disclosure Project
Carbon Trust
Centre for International Business Technologies (CIBT)
Chevron Corporation
Christian Aid
Chubu Electric Power
Cisco Systems
Climate Strategies
Cogen Nederland
Confederation of Indian Industry (CII)
Control Risks
Credaris Porfolio Management
Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA)
Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Canada
Deutsche Bank AG
Eden Project
EDF Energy
Embassy of Finland
Embassy of the Republic of Hungary
Embassy of the Republic of Poland
Embassy of the United States of America
Export Credits Guarantee Department (ECGD)
FIA Foundation for the Automobile and Society
Finnish Institute of International Affairs
Flemish Government
Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO)
Foundation for Science and Technology
German Marshall Fund of the United States
Global Humanitarian Forum
Global Solutions Initiative Organization
Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ)
HM Treasury
House of Commons (Environmental Audit Committee)
House of Commons (Trade and Industry Select Committee)
HSBC Holdings plc
IEA Clean Coal Centre
Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR)
International Association of Oil & Gas Producers
International Petroleum Industry Environmental Conservation (IPIECA)
Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC)
Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO)
Japan Oil, Gas, Metals National Corp (JOGMEC)
JPMorgan Securities Ltd
Kokusai Asset Management Co., Ltd
KPMG International
Kuwait Petroleum Corporation
Lancaster University
London Energy Brokers' Association
London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE)
Loughborough University
Luther Pendragon
Maersk Oil & Gas
McKinsey Global Institute
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Ministry of the Environment Japan
Mitsubishi Corporation
Mitsui & Co UK PLC
National Farmers' Union (NFU)
National Federation of Women's Institutes
Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency
New Carbon Finance
New Zealand High Commission
NewsBase Ltd
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)
OVE ARUP and Partners International Ltd
Oxfam Great Britain
Point Carbon
Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK)
PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP
Prime Minister's Office
Privy Council Office
Québec Government Office
Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Partnership (REEEP)
Representation of the Faroes
Rio Tinto plc
Rolls-Royce International Limited
Schlumberger Oilfield UK Plc
Science Museum
Serco Group plc
Shell Chemicals Limited
Shell International Limited
South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA)
Spanish Embassy (Economic & Commercial Office)
Specialist Schools and Academies Trust
Standard Chartered Bank (Global Markets Division)
Stockholm Network
Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation SDC
Terrestrial Carbon Group
The Climate Group
The Royal Society
The Venturing Firm Limited
UN Foundation
University of Dundee
University of East Anglia
University of Edinburgh
University of Oslo
University of Surrey
University of Sussex (Climate Change & Development Centre)
US Department of State
Virgin Atlantic Airways
Wilton Park Conferences
World Coal Institute
World Economic Forum
World Trade Organization
Xynteo Ltd