Who to blame?

The UN Conference on Climate Change (COP16) in Cancun, Mexico, has now ended. And the discussions regarding the achievements of the conference (or the lack thereof) has begun. The comments by Andreas Carlgren, the Swedish Environmental Minister, are relatively positive. Although he thinks that the commitments made to lower CO2 emissions are not satisfactory, he thinks that the Cancun meeting gave confidence back to the UN-process after the great disappointment in Copenhagen last year. Several other organizations, as exemplified by DN this weekend, are more reluctant to use strong positive words, but everyone seems to be happy that the process survived at all…

To develop your own understanding of the outcome of the conference I could recommend you to read Daily Telegraph’s article ”what it all means” and their analysis of the agreement text.

In a lot of the comments I have seen during the last two weeks there has been a tendency to find someone to blame. Sometimes it is ”the developed world” or often more specifically US, sometimes it is the ”developing world” or at least China and India. But where are the large releases of CO2, and how to handle those releases? One thing that I have not seen to much discussions about is ”who actually owns the releases”. Is it the country who manufactures products and goods who should be blamed for the release, or is it the country where consumption takes place? See the huge volumes of embedded CO2 in products exported and imported on this slide that I have borrowed from Björn Stigson of WBCSD (read the blog post from Dec 2), based on data from Stephen Davis:

So, who to blame? According to Björn Stigson, half of the import to Germany from China actually comes from German owned factories in China. I guess that makes it even more difficult ”to blame China” for those releases…

It will be interesting to follow the discussions on climate change in the coming year until the next meeting, COP17, in Durban, South Africa. But as I have said many times before, we cannot just wait with actions until a strong global agreement has been signed. Actions are needed already today. So, in both your private life, and in your professional life, let’s contribute to decreasing releases. As you know if you have followed my blog over the years, I am proud of Pfizer’s contributions. A 43% decrease (as indexed by sales) in green house gas releases from 2000 to 2007 and an objective to decrease the releases with additional 20% (in absolute numbers) until 2012.

Pfizer Climate Change Goal

Pfizer Climate Change Goal

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