Conversation with industry lobby: the other side of negotiations
How does a climate change negotiation look like?
On one hand you have governments trying (in a frustrating way) to put together a document that will set out ways forward to reduce the impacts that are caused by the climate changes; on the other hand you have different organisations from civil society defending their ideas and actions. However in the middle of all this we also have the industries whose activities will be affected by the agreement set out during the UN conference COP. The Youth Press Agency spoke with Joachim Hein, representative of one of the Germany industries through BDI (Bundesverband der Deutschen Industrie). Joachim told us how they position themselves in relation to this topic, the concerns with climate chances, the industries responsibility and the difficulties to complying an implementing what is proposed by governments.
BDI represents all the associations of industries from many sectors in Germany. For this reason, Joachim explains that it is very difficult to build a position that represents all. Throughout the years they have met with various groups so that they could put together a document highlighting the points, relevant to the industries, to bring to the discussion at the climate meeting. ’A lot of people think that the industries are not concerned about the Climate Change, but it is quite the contrary, of course they do worry, because this interferers in the way they will produce and survive’ he says. However Joachim also mentions that it is very common for people to judge the industry sector without presenting any proposal as to how that transition to a more sustainable model of production can be implemented or financed.
’For example, the proposal of 100% of renewable energies until 2050. Is it possible? Yes it is, if we have investment and funding for this. But how to invest? Where will the money come from? How will it be implemented? How to make it cost efficient? These are some of the many questions behind the problem’ he states. As a representative of the industry sector in Germany, Joachim also explains that his country has already a rigorous law in place related to environment, which in turn makes industries applying their sustainable models, something that is being discussed at the climate meeting.
Often what is proposed at one COP is way simpler that the current legislation in Germany’ he says. When asked about his opinion on whether the companies should also finance the transition to more sustainable models through the Green Climate Fund (something that is topical at the COP21) he says that it is fair for the private sector to do that and believes that this something which is already being done. ’So, where is the public money to fund that? Many of the times, it is coming from the private sector taxes’.
So, instead of companies separately financing the Climate Fund, he defends that Governments should instead create an extra tax for industries through which all the money could be used for Fund. Finally, when questioned about the relation between industries and civil society organisations, he says that in Germany they get on very well with some of the NGOs, but encounter difficulties with other. According to him, the different lies on the capacity to listen to each other.
Some NGOs accept to listen to us, so they understand our positioning and how things work. This obviously does not mean they agree with us, but they listen to us. Other NGOs simply protest, point the finger at us, accusing us of doing things wrongly, or that we are ill-intended but never present us a solution’ agues Joachim. To him, the role of civil society in the negotiations is extremely important, particularly the youth one. However he also believes that often young people focus too much on actions and not so much in getting more involved in the political side, which is where the negotiations take place. ’ We really need more young people interested in politics, so they can negotiate in depth and in detail what is being discussed’ he concludes.