Copenhagen Briefing – Connecting the Dots


Photo courtesy of Anne-Maree Huxley's Powerpoint Presentation

I recycle, hang my washing up rather than tumble dry, switch of lights and keep an ear out for information that can help me be a better global citizen with regards to the environment and how I live on the planet. I am not, however, well versed in environmental issues nor the politics around these issues.

I don’t know about you, but I was a bit depressed and confused by the media coverage of Copenhagen. The shots of protests and the claims that no agreements could be reached left me both under-whelmed at the commitment of those present and over-whelmed at the conflicting information. So in the end, I switched off.

I recently attended a briefing on Copenhagen conducted by 6 people from MOSS (Models of Success and Sustainability www.moss.org.au) who had a delegation in Copenhagen and gave some great insights into what actually happened. In those two hours I got clarity, found hope and left with many things to follow up and gain greater understanding. I thought I’d share some of the insights and hope I gained on that day! MOSS is considering running these events again around Australia. If you are at all interested – I suggest that you contact them and register your interest – it is a very worthwhile couple of hours! Email info@moss.org.au.

Some of the connection between the dots:

– COP 15 – does not stand for COPenhagen – COP stands for Conference of the Parties (*blush*)

– The stand out point that was reiterated across the speakers was that in Europe green and sustainable alternatives are already integrated and a part of life. It is everywhere, from advertising to transport and beyond. In Australia, we are still having the debate on whether the problem even exists, let alone moving forward on solutions.

– If we wait for the government it will be too late. Every person, family, community and business in Australia needs to look at their own action plan for contributing to a sustainable future.

– Despite all the doom and gloom about no agreement being reached; there is actually one thing that everyone agreed upon: All governments agreed that action has to happen. That is a great starting point to move forward from!

– Tanya Harris, Supply Chain CSR Media and Marketing Manager at Optus, was there for the full two weeks. She didn’t see any protests other than ‘a few vegetarians’ out the front. This just puts in context the media coverage and focus on protests. They were obviously there – but it didn’t dominate the event for those in attendance.

– The ‘green’ market in Europe is already bigger than pharmaceuticals and aviation. This will not derail our economy as some will have us believe.

– Thousands of great ideas, research and projects already underway, were showcased at Copenhagen. We were shown many and I am truly inspired and heartened that these things are happening. The idea that I liked the most was the Personal Carbon Allowance. This is being researched and trialled at present.

“Personal carbon trading refers to proposed emissions trading schemes under which emissions credits are allocated to adult individuals on a (broadly) equal per capita basis, within national carbon budgets. Individuals then surrender these credits when buying fuel or electricity. Individuals wanting or needing to emit at a level above that permitted by their initial allocation would be able to engage in emissions trading and purchase additional credits. Conversely, those individuals who emit at a level below that permitted by their initial allocation have the opportunity to sell their surplus credits. Thus, individual trading under Personal Carbon Trading is similar to the trading of companies under EU ETS.”

What do you think about this? It certainly would mean more personal accountability and responsibility.I love it!


Photo courtesy of Anne-Maree Huxley's Powerpoint Presentation

That is my very unofficial and far from comprehensive snapshot of the briefing, highlighting some of the points that really stood out for me. I feel much more informed, much less over and under-whelmed and more hopeful for the path forward.

Please don’t read that as complacency! Australia really needs to get it’s act together and move past the debate on whether the problem exists or not. Whether it does or it doesn’t – surely moving to a more sustainable way of life on the planet is good for us all! Let’s get on with it!