Copenhagen: Money Is What Matters in Backroom Talks


"Copenhagen may lead. . .to the largest transfer of money in history from the global north to the south"

The most powerful lobbyists at the Copenhagen climate summit will not be the noisy environmentalists or even the global charities who will press politicians for a strong deal that avoids the worst of global warming.

Ecology and morals count in the public arena, but as the negotiations progress and world leaders arrive to take the stage, money will dominate the backroom talks. It is likely to be the deal maker or breaker. Copenhagen may lead over the next 20 years to the largest transfer of money in history from the global north to the south, dwarfing the amount that developing countries now receive in aid.

Industrialists, financiers, bankers, business groups and carbon traders know there is much more in play at Copenhagen than a concern for the health of the planet. They all have a stake in the decisions made and see climate change as the driver of a global energy revolution and the chance to trade in technologies that could shift the world economy.

Money men will be pressing for a deal that sets up new markets, accelerates investment in clean technologies and gives a clear signal to investors that the low-carbon future lies ahead.

Conservatively, the burgeoning climate change industry expects Copenhagen to open the door to more than $10tn of investment in low carbon technologies by 2030. That, says the IEA, is what is needed to limit carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere to 450 parts per million, and give a decent chance of avoiding dangerous climate change.

But developing countries' negotiators are holding out for at least $400bn/yr. by 2020, and more later. They have already won the argument that they should be compensated for damage caused by the carbon emitted as developed nations grew rich.

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