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Ready to save the world – but not yet

Financial Times

By Ed Crooks, Financial Times

Published: January 15 2010 16:06

For the clean energy industry, Copenhagen was a disappointment. It was not, however, a significant setback. At least, not yet.

Peter Voser, the chief executive of Royal Dutch Shell, the oil and gas group, was typical of executives who had wanted to see a clear signal sent. In spite of its dependence on fossil fuels for its revenues, Shell wants an international framework for controlling carbon dioxide emissions that will give it certainty to plan its investments. It sees long-term opportunities in selling natural gas – a lower-carbon option than coal for power generation; in advanced biofuels – where it is backing one of the world’s largest research and development programmes; and in technology for capturing carbon dioxide emissions from factories and power plants and storing them underground.Mr Voser said after Copenhagen: “We … recognise that the accord reflects a true political willingness to combat climate change. However, it remains unclear how this political willingness will translate into concrete steps.”

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