The Copenhagen Climate Council (CCC) was founded as a “global collaboration between international business and science” in 2007 by Monday Morning, the leading independent think tank in Scandinavia. CCC’s members, or councillors, include 32 influential business, science, and public-policy leaders. To date, the Council is best known for the work it did to “create global awareness of the importance” of the United Nations Climate Summit, held in Copenhagen, Denmark in December 2009. The event’s purpose was to persuade “global decision makers” to agree on a new climate treaty aimed at reducing greenhouse-gas emissions (most significantly carbon dioxide, or CO2) worldwide.
According to CCC, “the stock of carbon dioxide … in the atmosphere is now at a higher level than at any time in human history.” The Council warns that if current trends continue, the result will be “dangerous climate change” (a.k.a. “global warming”) with the capacity “to disrupt the lives of every human on the planet.” Greenhouse gases, the Council says, have already set in motion several ominous trends that “will accelerate” if immediate action is not taken to diminish the gases’ prevalence. For example, CCC has observed:
Affirming that “humanity has created this problem,” CCC contends that it is “beyond reasonable scientific doubt” that the high level of CO2 in the atmosphere is “caused primarily by greenhouse gases which are emitted by the burning of fossil fuels.” According to the Council, those who doubt that dire consequences could result from such emissions are either skeptics who choose not to believe any predictions “no matter how grounded in analysis and science,” or people who resist acknowledging the threat “because the implications of global warming and climate change are so frightening.”
CCC’s prescription for averting environmental disaster is for all industrialized nations to sign an international climate treaty that would establish a “global emissions trading system”¯i.e., a cap-and-trade arrangement¯featuring “strict caps on the emissions of greenhouse gases from the developed countries.” Under the terms of this globalized wealth-redistribution plan, any industrialized nation that exceeds its CO2-emission limit would be penalized in the form of a tax that could be used, in turn, to “leverage significant investment into energy infrastructure in developing countries,” which allegedly are “most vulnerable to climate change.”
CCC maintains that the “developed economies” which initially rose to prominence “during the first industrial revolution” have a moral duty to “lead the way” in such an endeavor because they themselves have already “burden[ed] the atmosphere with … carbon”¯ the “founding element of the climate problem.” “It is time for humanity to regard the global atmosphere as an essential, shared resource,” CCC emphasizes.
Yet another way “for the developed world to repay its historic carbon debt,” says CCC, is to provide “a means for tropical countries to grow economically”¯i.e., to transfer wealth to those countries as recompense for the salutary effect which their forests have on the ecology of the entire planet. CCC points out that such forests not only draw large amounts of CO2 out of the atmosphere, but also help to cool the earth with frequent rainfall.
In addition, CCC recommends an increase in global funding for research and development of low-carbon technologies and improved energy efficiency, centered especially around “cleaner coal, gas, nuclear, wind, solar, wave and tidal, geothermal and other sources of climate-responsible energy.” Moreover, the Council calls for research into hydrogen fuel cells, sustainable biofuels, and electric engines to power cars and other forms of transport; farming practices that permit “the sequestration of carbon in agricultural soils”; the efficient utilization of crop waste; and innovations in the combustion of biomass and cellulosic ethanol technologies.