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Global Business Backs UN Climate Change Deal

Vattenfall recently opened a zero CO2 emission coal fired power plant in eastern Germany using the Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) technology involving the capture of C02 emissions and storing them underground.
by Staff Writers
Warsaw (AFP) Oct 29, 2008
Global business leaders meeting Wednesday in Warsaw endorsed the United Nations' drive to clinch a new global framework to curb climate change at its December 2009 climate summit in Copenhagen.

"Business is a solution to the climate change crisis," Lars G. Josefsson, president and CEO of European power giant Vattenfall, told reporters after roundtable talks of business leaders on climate change.

Josefsson is also the coordinator of the Combat Climate Change 3C initiative grouping 55 multi-national corporations, including General Electric, AIG, Citigroup, BP, Siemens, Hitachi, the China Oil Offshore Company, Volvo, Tata Power, HP and Vattenfall, among others.

"We were here today to create a critical mass for Poznan (UN climate summit December 2008) and ahead of the 2009 Copenhagen summit," Josefsson said, noting a "great deal of optimism in the room despite the global economic downturn.

"Business leaders must show the leadership, focus, and spirit of common understanding that has been lacking in the political process," he said.

The European Union's efforts to adopt a strategy to cut CO2 emissions by 20 percent -- compared to 1990 emission levels -- by 2020 in December are in danger of being torpedoed by vetos from Italy and heavily coal-dependent Poland, raising fears that Europe's global leadership on climate policy could falter.

Environmental groups also warn the global financial crisis cannot be used as an excuse to postpone slashing global carbon dioxide emissions in order to curb global warming to under two degrees Celsius by the end of this century.

Global investment in green technology in 2007 approached 150 billion dollars, up 40 percent from 2006, according to Dr. Steve Howard, CEO of The Climate Group, a global environmental consultancy.

"Now because of the lack of liquidity, the financial crisis (investment) will slow down and take a temporary dip so we won't see that level of growth sustained this year," Howard told AFP, but predicted that "within three to four years we'll be up to 300 billion dollars of real money going into green energy (per year)."

Vattenfall recently opened a zero CO2 emission coal fired power plant in eastern Germany using the Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) technology involving the capture of C02 emissions and storing them underground.

While some scientists warn that CO2 stored this way could contaminate ground water, producing carbonic acid (H2CO3) present in effervescent, carbonated water, CCS technology is regarded as a significant option for slashing CO2 emissions.

"CCS will be competitive by approximately 2020-2025," Josefsson told AFP. Vattenfall is considering more CCS projects for Poland, Germany and Denmark, he said.

"Our company has made a declaration that we are going to be carbon neutral by 2050 - that we won't have CO2 emissions," said Josefsson.

"If you look at our growth from now until 2050, we believe that 50 percent of our investments will be into renewables, 25 percent into nuclear and 25 percent into CCS.

"We invest heavily into wind, biomass, we invest into ocean energy -- we are making trials in ocean technology on the Swedish west coast and in Ireland on different technologies and we think it is very promising," said the Vattenfall CEO. "We think it can be as big as wind power."

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