Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Declaration on Climate Change and Clean Energy

Amidst the discussion of H1N1 flu and drug cartels, some interesting news for socially responsible investors came out of the North American Leaders Summit in Guadalajara. In addition to a general joint statement, a North American Leaders’ Declaration on Climate Change and Clean Energy issued yesterday laid out some specific ideas and goals.

A key paragraph stated, “We underscore the importance of developing and strengthening financial instruments to support mitigation and adaptation actions and welcome in this regard the proposal by Mexico of a Green Fund. We will conduct further work on the proposal and will consider other views presented for scaling-up financing from both public and private sources.” Mexico has been proposing a Green Fund for over a year now, saying at the UN last September “Climate change is not a problem to be faced by nations according to their degree of development. It is a task that requires the translation of words into deeds that are to be substantiated by concrete proposals that are based on the principles of common but differentiated responsibilities.”

Contributions to the fund would be agreed upon by all and could be determined by criteria such as greenhouse gas emissions, population and GDP. If the Green Fund becomes a reality, it will be a significant source of public funding for projects that help combat the effects of climate change. It will also be a mechanism that helps address the rift between the developed countries and developing countries on this issue.

As is to be expected in a political document, there was no shortage of motherhood statements, beginning with the clich├ęd opening sentence, “We, the leaders of North America, reaffirm the urgency and necessity of taking aggressive action on climate change.” In addition there were 8 instances of ‘working together’ and ‘co-operating’, as well as one ‘we will work co-operatively’,

But one area where all this cooperation is necessary is in our infrastructure, and that was noted. “We will collaborate on climate friendly and low-carbon technologies, including building a smart grid in North America for more efficient and reliable electricity inter-connections, as well as regional cooperation on carbon capture and storage.” Mention is also made of reducing the use of HFCs, protecting and enhancing forests, wetlands, croplands and other carbon sinks, and reducing transportation emissions.

The leaders claim ‘We share a vision for a low-carbon North America’. Overall, enough particulars were included in the Declaration to turn this vision into reality.

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