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Sorrell: ‘we should not give up’ on climate negotiations
Sir Martin Sorrell, boss of advertising giant WPP, discusses the repercussions of the Copenhagen meeting.
April 13, 2010 4:11 by kippreport
If there are still any cocktail swilling ‘mad men’ telling the world what they need to buy, there’s a good chance they now work for Sir Martin Sorrell. The British businessman is the driving force behind WPP, one of four major companies controlling the advertising world. WPP’s aggressive strategy has made it a major player on the international stage, but the ad industry is not Sorrell’s only global interest. He talks to Trends magazine about a subject near to his heart: saving the environment.
How do you assess what happened at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen?
The [British] prime minister has said that Copenhagen was a bit of a disappointment, because the kind of expectations that the international community had, the kind of expectations that countries like India had – that there would be a supportive global regime which would emerge from these negotiations – were dampened. But, having said that, I think it is encouraging to see that there were consensus decisions that were adopted, that we should continue the negotiations. We should not give up on those negotiations. So there will be continued negotiations on the Bali Action Plan.
There will be continued negotiations on the Kyoto Protocol, and we are hopeful that an intensified process in the coming months will take us to the destination that we want once we have the conference at Mexico City [the next UN climate meeting, scheduled to be held in Cancun at the end of the year].
Of course, you know that we also agreed upon a document called the Copenhagen Accord, and in the Copenhagen Accord there were a number of outstanding issues on which we were able to achieve broad consensus.
But there’s also a feeling that these actions could be considered commitments.
No, they cannot be considered as commitments because under the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, and its Kyoto Protocol, developing countries are not expected to take on any kind of emission reduction targets.
That doesn’t mean that they cannot take mitigating actions. But, what the U.N.F.C.C. says is, that those mitigating actions should be supported by financial resources and technology from the developed countries to the developing countries.
You know, promoting renewable energies, promoting energy efficiency, increasing your forest cover; these are all the kind of things which we need for energy security, which we need for more sustainable growth.
But if, in the bargain, this also makes a major contribution to mitigating green house gas emissions, so much the better.
Do you think that support from the developed world is coming?
This is a bad time because of the fact that we are in the middle of a financial crisis. So there is not much belief on the part of developed countries to look at putting aside large sums of public resources for supporting climate change action.
I’m afraid that until we actually get out of this crisis, expectations of a really large amount of financial resources or technology being made available to developing countries… I think those expectations are not going to be realized. So we have to work under that constraint.
We do not expect them to pump in money today, but at least we should have some visibility for the medium or long term.
I’m afraid not, beyond what has been mentioned in the Copenhagen Accord, which is that for the next three years, $10 billion will be available essentially to support adaptation action in the most vulnerable countries. And an indication that by 2020, a sum of perhaps $100 billion could be made available. But that $100 billion will be from multiple sources – it has been very carefully hedged that most of that money is probably not going to come from public sources. It’s probably going to come from international financial institutions, maybe from carbon markets, so we must be prepared for that eventuality.
Were the interests of the least developed countries protected adequately?
Well, we have always supported special attention being given to the least developed countries. You may have seen that when the countries met recently in Delhi, we made a statement that $10 billion a year should be operationalized as quickly as possible.
And we have also said that we are beginning to explore possibilities of how major developing countries can help the most vulnerable countries to meet the challenge of climate change.