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Greenpeace Director: COP15 was a flop, but wind is crucial for future

23.02.2010

World leaders “let the chance of a fair, ambitious and legally binding agreement slip through their fingers” at the COP15 climate summit in Copenhagen, argues Kumi Naidoo, Greenpeace’s new International Executive Director, in the latest issue of Wind Directions.

However, he stresses that “Wind energy will remain the single most important technology for combating climate change in the coming years and will be joined by the solar industry well before 2020”.

Naidoo believes the summit’s non-binding accord could be considered a “distraction” or even a “hand grenade lobbed into the multilateral process” unless it somehow forces countries to up their commitments to ensure global temperatures remain under the 2°C ceiling.

Others note the drawbacks to the accord-shaped cloud, but see the odd bit of silver lining. For Stephan Singer from WWF International, the results of the summit were “much below our own ‘worst case’ scenario”, but he points out that “it’s the first time that major developing countries agreed to substantially reduce emissions and embark on low carbon actions and clean energy policies”.

Kim Carnahan from the International Emissions Trading Association told Wind Directions the summit achieved the “extraordinary accomplishment” of getting heads of state engaged on the climate change issue. “It is a good sign to business that times are changing.”

Yet all agree that a much stronger agreement needs to be reached by the next summit in Mexico this December, and to that end, certain steps are necessary.
“We need a clear sign from political leaders in industrialised countries that they are willing to take ambitious and fair measures to reduce their emissions by 40% by 2020 and to help developing countries to adapt to climate change by limiting their emissions growth by at least 15% by 2020, and protect their forests”, says Naidoo.

Wind Directions’ interviewees agree with the Director of Greenpeace on the role the wind industry has to play a key role in reducing emissions in the necessary timeframe.

Singer asks, rhetorically: “Which power source can provide the backbone for a renewable-powered electric car fleet, and the hydrogen-based power storage capacities that will be used to fuel ships, lorries and even planes? It’s all the power of wind!”  

Read the full interviewees and more analysis from Wind Directions

Sarah Azau, Editor

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