Gleneagles Dialogue on Climate Change

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Global warming.jpg This article is part of the Climate project of Spinwatch.

The Gleneagles dialgoue was a forum made up of representatives of the most polluting 20 world governments (including the G8 countries and Brazil, China, India, Mexico and South Africa) and around 30 large companies, represented by 50 'forum members' (incorporating members of the G8 Climate Change Roundtable. It was formed in 2005 as part of the UK's G8 presidency, convened by the World Economic Forum, in partnership with the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD). It's findings were reported to it's fourth and final ministerial meeting in Chiba, Japan in March 2008.[1]

Though not part of official climate negotiations it aimed to bring a united voice to ongoing climate negotiations representing heavily polluting governments and industries. It operates through large meetings attended by governments and industry, and an intermediary 'forum' where industry can put their views to attendant ministers. The annual World Economic Forum meetings at Davos were also used to continue this dialogue. [2]


The World Economic Forum website claims that 'the Gleneagles Dialogue shapes policy recommendations and ensures that business-specific concerns are reflected in future policy-making by feeding into the Global Dialogue process.'

The business forum is advertised as looking at three issues, all concerned with the expansion of heavy carbon industry and energy generation through 'clean' technologies, carbon trading and offsetting, and expansion into the global South through 'technology transfer':

  • 'Technology–development and transfer issues, potential global and national route maps, barriers to investment,price gaps for different low-carbon technologies;
  • Adaptation–tools for screening, R&D requirements, risk spreading, integration into planning and assistance, making information more useable;
  • Market Mechanisms–development of trading schemes, reduction of regulatory obstacles, development of domestic carbon markets,support of more analysis in developing countries.'[3]

In a BBC report on the 2006 Monterrey meeting of the dialogue, Richard Samans head of the World Economic Forum claims that tough targets are needed on climate change, emphasising the role of technological fixes and 'clean technology' which will simultaneously benefit big business. Secretary general of the World Energy Council, Gerald Doucet is also quoted with the 'key message' that 'all energy options had to remain open';

"Tackling climate change is one element of sustainable growth. Access to energy and security of supply are just as important," he told the BBC.

"Idolising or demonising one technology is no longer what these meetings are about. Clean fossil fuels are a very key element to the solution," Mr Doucet said.

He said that this included improving the energy efficiency of existing coal-fired power stations and, ultimately, carbon capture and storage technology.' [4]

This language of 'energy security' instead of 'energy descent' promotes the continued growth of carbon-based economies and therefore a continual increase of year on year emissions, counterproductive to avoiding devastating climate change.

The 'advantages of membership section' of the Climate Change Initiative's outline document reveals its role in giving big industry considerable lobbying power in Climate negotiations. It describes advantages to business as:

  • 'Ability to help influence and shape policy thinking on the future international framework on energy and climate change, which will govern all private sector participants in the long-term
  • Opportunity for private, off-the-record ministerial and senior official contact, potentially with energy and environment ministers from 20 of the world's most influential countries, in or around the annual ministerial meetings and at World Economic Forum events
  • Sharing of ideas with an exclusive and select group of leading companies, which are leaders in their field, regarding proactive thinking on climate change and future energy policy
  • Finally, participation as a unique opportunity for industry leaders to proactively lead the business response to the pressing issue of climate change.'



Members are mostly from the 'Automotive, Aviation, Chemicals, Energy, Engineering & Construction, Financial Services, Logistics & Transport, and Mining & Metals industries'. Emphasising companies 'with significant presence in Africa, China, India and Latin America'. [5]









  1. DECC International Strategy on Climate Change page "Gleaneagles Dialogue" Accessed 09/11/09
  2. World Economic Forum website "Gleneagles Dialogue" Accessed 09/11/09
  3. World economic Forum documents "The Gleneagles Dialogue on Climate Change, Business Perspectives" Accessed 09/11/09
  4. Roger Harrabin, BBC News, 4/10/06 "Climate change threat 'daunting'" Accessed 09/11/09
  5. WEF Climate Change Initiatives outline "Climate Change Initiatives" Accessed 09/11/09