Climate change talks should not come in the way of free trade

In a resolution adopted, following the conclusion of the two-day conference hosted by the US Chamber and the Energy Institute, the business organisations said energy security must be considered as part of an overall international agenda that promotes sustainable development and addresses climate change.

"National governments are urged to streamline sitting, permitting, and other regulatory requirements so that needed energy infrastructure can move forward with greater predictability," the conference said in a joint declaration.

India was represented by Jamshyd Godrej, Chairman of the CII Green Business Center. As an example of India's progressive action on climate change, the Green Business Center is the world's second Leed certified building, approved by the US Green Building Council.

Godrej who moderated the first session on Energy Needs and Access -- The Nexus Between Energy Security and Climate Change, set the tone firmly on behalf of India and 'developing countries'.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, is keen on an 'inclusive' deal at COP15 that is based on 'equity and has relevance' to India's economic growth, he said.

"India has been long since involved in vast efforts to manage its emissions and reverse the effects of climate change. But we need to do more to let the world know about those initiatives," Godrej said.

Major business organisations from Australia, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, Germany, Europe, Japan, Kenya, and the US exchanged views on a new international agreement on climate change, advance shared objectives, and contribution to the ongoing negotiations under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate(MEF).

The declaration said business needs a greater financial commitment from governments worldwide to reduce the cost and improve the performance of new technologies. "Business would prefer to see funds established in a way that promotes action by the private sector, including foreign direct investment, but that does not directly flow from government to government," it said.

"A new agreement should include reform of the Joint Implementation and Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) that provide the opportunities in some countries to finance clean technologies and implement climate change measures in emerging and developing economies," the declaration said.

The business organisations said adaptation must take advantage of local skills, build sustainable local infrastructure, and take advantage of experience already present in developing countries. "Governments should recognise and embrace business engagement and expertise as the climate negotiations unfold," it said.

"We believe that reforms should be implemented so that the international process can take better and more explicit advantage of the range of technical expertise that business can provide," said the declaration.

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