Left: Charles C. Nicholoson, Group Senior Advisor,BP. Middle: Achim Steiner, Director-general of the IUCN. Right: Remi Parmentier, Political Director, Greenpeace International.
Environmentalists want it for the planet. Business wants a level
playing field that avoids the confusion of differing national
implementations. And both want governments to do something so badly
that oil giant BP and Greenpeace were able to share a platform to
"Sharing platforms of course is something we do literally and
figuratively" said Group Senior Advisor for BP Charles C.
Nicholson, referring to Greenpeace's 1997 occupation of the Stenna
Dee oil platform in the North Sea. Greenpeace Climate Policy
Director Steve Sawyer responded that he was also pleased to share a
different kind of platform, and he promised that unlike BP, "I
won't call the police, or take out a civil suit, or try to freeze
your bank accounts."
Both Greenpeace and the WBCSD emphasized that they are not
prepared to set aside all of their differences. "This is not a
merger" said Bjorn Stigson, the President of the WBCSD. And
Nicholson noted that "Of course there will continue to be
differences about the end points and the means, but if we keep
sprinting around those differences we're never going to make any
Chris Boyd, the Senior Vice President for Environment and Public
Affairs at LaFarge, said that his company and those who saw
themselves as proactive on climate change were particularly
concerned that governments take action. "We have to ask ourselves,
if there is no progress on a global framework, who will suffer
most? It will be the proactive companies."
Greenpeace is well known for its campaigns against some
companies who are members of the World Business Council for
Sustainable Development (WBCSD). In turn, the WBCSD is well known
for advocating a free trade approach to solving environmental
problems, including voluntary measures that often differ radically
The Bush administration in particular has claimed their refusal
to adopt Kyoto rests on the concerns of industry, and claim that
the standards demanded by activists will never be accepted by
In their joint statement, the two adversaries said that "We both
share the view that the mixed often contradictory signals sent by
governments on the environment, especially on greenhouse gas
emission reductions, is creating a political environment which is
not good for business nor, indeed, for the future of humanity."
The standing-room only crowd at the press conference broke into
applause. "We are shelving our differences on other issues on this
occasion and calling upon governments to be responsible and build
the international framework to tackle climate change on the basis
of the UN Framework Convention on Climate change and its Kyoto
protocol. We both agree this is the essential first step," said
Stigson and Parmentier.
Dr. Jose Goldemberg, Secretary of State for the Environment in
the state of Sao Paolo, Brazil, commented on new resistance that
had surfaced at the Earth Summit to clear timetables and targets
for renewable energy. "If you don't adopt targets and timetables,
you don't signal governments. And if you don't send a signal,
governments won't act and business won't act." Goldemberg also
noted the importance of the Summit in particular being clear about
this: "Renewables make the link between poverty and the
Sawyer agreed, stating "this [the Summit] is a blunt instrument.
We don't expect heads of state to unpick all the issues, but they
do need to send a signal that they intend to fulfil the commitments
they made ten years ago in Rio."
Remi Parmentier noted that "We will continue to have
disagreements with many of the companies who are members of the
WBCSD. We will continue to have campaigns against them and put
activists on their chimneys and pipes. They will continue to call
the police when we get too close. But as an advocacy group, we can
find common ground."