Durban was a positive, but ultimately quite minor, step in what promises to be a lengthy journey.
Of course, it would have been wildly unrealistic to hope that these kinds of fundamental issues might be resolved at a single international conference, so the outcome of Durban was probably as much as could have been expected.
- Expect continued uncertainty and inaction at the international level
Because of the many barriers, countries will most likely not achieve an international deal by 2015. A more probable outcome is that a weaker compromise solution is reached.
This does not mean that your business has no incentive to behave in a more environmentally sustainable way. For example, the reputation and financial benefits that can be achieved by improving sustainability are still available to businesses whether a meaningful climate deal is reached or not.
- Prepare for increasing activity at national and regional levels
Some governments or regions may decide to take radical unilateral action on climate change. National action is still not enough to address climate change, but limited action at the international level does not necessarily mean limited action at the local, state or regional level.
- Think through opportunities from adaptation as well as mitigation
The final high level consideration is that the world seems incapable of preventing dangerous climate change. Most of the commercial opportunities might lie in the realm of adaptation rather than mitigation.
In other words, there could easily end up being more money in building sea defenses than wind turbines. The financial cost of adaptation will be enormous, but the commercial opportunities will be equally great.
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