16th Annual Copenhagen Conference
On February 25th, 2011 the Danish Atlantic Treaty Association held its sixteenth annual Copenhagen Conference. The topic was “Energy Security and Climate Changes: How do we avoid giving a competitive advantage to rivaling states and at the same time protect our climate?”
Although two of the four confirmed speakers were unable to attend, the conference was still a success. Anders Eldrup (CEO, DONG Energy) and Professor Katherine Richardson (head of the Danish Government's Climate Committee) presented the audience with two very interesting perspectives
Mr. Eldrup stressed the historic perspective in his presentation. He remarked upon the lessons learned from the first oil crisis in Europe and Denmark in the early 1970’s and how it marked a turning point in the Danish mindset. Denmark should no longer be dependent on a single provider of energy. Instead, Denmark would pursue a strategy of energy diversity. As a result, Denmark is now a leading country in energy innovation. Nonetheless, Eldrup stressed that Denmark should do more. Elderup contends that it is the companies who are needed to change the situation since states are much more locked in the traditional games of power politics and thus less likely to reach an agreement. He pointed to Copenhagen COP 15 and Mexico COP 16 as an illustration of such restrictions.
Katherine Richardson in turn pointed to some scientific aspects about global warming and other damaging effects of burning oil and gas. Her final point that humans are now aware of their impact on our surroundings was the most compelling. For the first time in history, society is able to respond to a global challenge and this opportunity should not be missed. The 120 participants who attended the conference listened intently to the presentations and were eager to ask questions.
The 16th Copenhagen Conference especially targeted future leaders of the younger generation, thus two classes from senior high schools were also in attendance.
Intern, The Danish Atlantic Treaty Association