Ambassador Bo Lidegaard
Danish Board of Technology
"Ambassador Bo Lidegaard and Robert Stavins Discuss Way Forward from Copenhagen"
Media Feature, Harvard Kennedy School website
February 11, 2010
Author: Louisa Lund
Belfer Center Programs or Projects: Harvard Project on Climate Agreements
Ambassador Bo Lidegaard, permanent under secretary of state in the office of the Prime Minister of Denmark, came to the Harvard Kennedy School Tuesday (9th February) to lead a discussion on "Climate Policy After Copenhagen: The Way Forward."
Lidegaard's remarks provided an insider's perspective on planning for and expectations for the Fifteenth Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Convention on Climate Change (COP-15) in Copenhagen and on how events unfolded as the conference progressed. Lidegaard said the planning had to overcome a situation of conflicting demands by participating countries, in which "the red lines" crossed each other.
"We began to frame the success criteria for Copenhagen to be whether we could frame a political structure that could enable all the countries of the world to engage in the combat of global warming," he said.
Lidegaard went on to describe a negotiation process in which national leaders were directly involved to an unprecedented level: "Anything similar to this has never happened before, where you expose leaders to each other, and where they are directly into challenging each other's assumptions on how to move forward."
Lidegaard noted four key characteristics of the Copenhagen Accord, the non-binding agreement that resulted from COP-15. Firstly, it created a global structure for all countries to commit to specific actions; secondly, it established a goal of limiting emissions to two degrees Centigrade; thirdly, it established some basic rules related to transparency, adaptation and forestry; and lastly, it began to set up a structure for financing and the prospect of very significant financial resources in the future.
Lidegaard closed by noting the challenges of the way forward: "How do we create a dynamic that will close in the gap between the goal the world has set itself to respect the two degrees, and the actual sum of the actions that as they now stand will not reach that target?"
Robert Stavins, Albert Pratt professor of business and government and director of the Harvard Project on International Climate Agreements, served as a commentator on the presentation. Stavins gave his perspective on the key accomplishments of the Copenhagen Accord, most notably, the "massive change" represented by the fact that "For the first time...all the major emitters [developing, as well as industrialized countries] would take on responsibilities under the Copenhagen Accord."
Stavins noted that the Harvard Project on International Climate Agreements has a current research focus on the institutional context of international climate change policy, asking what might be the "best institutional venues for accomplishing what is needed...in terms of international cooperation?"
The discussion was moderated by William Hogan, the Raymond Plank professor of global energy policy. The event was jointly sponsored by the Harvard Project on International Climate Agreements and the Consortium for Energy Policy Research at Harvard, part of the Mossaver-Rahmani Center for Business and Government.
For more information about this publication please contact the Harvard Project on Climate Agreements Coordinator at 617-496-8054.
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