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Alstom at COP17: Meeting the 2°C target is possible but requires urgent action


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Alstom highlighted the role of business in addressing the climate change challenge at the 17th Conference of the Parties (COP17) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which was held in Durban from November 28 to December 9, 2011.

As a global leader in power generation, transmission and rail transportation, three sectors that are responsible for approximately 60% of global CO2 emissions, Alstom feels that it is industry’s responsibility to address the issue and be part of the solution to climate change by providing sustainable mobility and clean power solutions.

To meet emissions targets for 2020 and stay on a 450ppm pathway, commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions will need to be backed up by action.  

“Investment-grade policy” will be needed to attract private investment and accelerate the development and deployment of clean technologies.  This means:

  • Transparent, long-term policy frameworks to help reduce uncertainty and risk
  • Mechanisms enabling strong, robust and stable price on carbon emissions
  • Increasing partnerships between the public and private sector to deliver clean technology solutions, sharing risk and leveraging finance through Public-Private Partnerships.

This can give confidence to business to make the long-term investment decisions that are needed to support the development and deployment of clean technologies to help combat climate change.


Alstom contributed to the debate through a comprehensive participation at COP17, including events running in parallel to the negotiations:

  • On 4 December during the World Climate Summit (WCS), Alstom hosted a roundtable entitled ‘Clean Power as a Path to Development’ where prominent business, government and energy experts discussed the challenges of using clean power as a route to development to ensure access to energy for all.
  • Alstom’s Deputy CEO, Philippe Joubert, spoke about how to ensure “Sustainable Energy for All” at the WCS plenary session on 4 December.

    In its second year, the annual WCS was held in conjunction with COP17 and brought together business, financiers, philanthropists and governments under the common aim of accelerating the development and deployment of solutions to tackle climate change and make the global green economy a reality.
  • Alstom’s Senior Vice-President for Environmental Policies and Global Advocacy, Joan MacNaughton, focused on Africa in her speech on ‘Clean Power for All’ at the WCS plenary session on 3 December. Joan MacNaughton also spoke at the following side events:
    • International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) event, 2 December, on financing and investments for climate change;
    • United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) event, 2 December, on the private sector perspective on the Green Climate Fund.
  • Philippe Joubert outlined Alstom’s carbon capture and storage (CCS) activities at events hosted by the WCS and the Zero-Emissions Platform on 3 December and at a Global CCS Institute and Bellona event on 6 December.
  • Mark Boneham, Sales and Marketing Director, South Africa, spoke at an ADEME event on the response of global electricity utilities to climate change.
  • Helle Juhler-Verdoner, VP for Global Issues, spoke IETA’s event on how to increase certainty of CERs for investors.
  • On 5 December, Philippe Joubert participated in the Global Business Day organised by the World Business Council of Sustainable Development (WBCSD) in partnership with the ICC and the National Business Initiative (NBI). Mr Joubert highlighted the commitment of business to low-carbon economic growth and the urgent need for policy-makers to establish the right policy- and financing framework in order to incentivise low-carbon investments. Business is supportive of such policy measures, including a strong, robust and stable carbon price.
  • Alstom also hosted the Expo’s cyber café in partnership with the South African Department of Energy. Alstom’s energy and environmental experts are on hand to discuss how clean power technologies can contribute to meeting the 2°C target and to sustainable growth, clean energy jobs creation and a healthy power market.


Since the launch of its Clean Power Today!™ strategy in 2005, Alstom has advocated the vital role of the right policy frameworks in developing a sustainable power market. This strategy has led it to continuously expand its broad portfolio of carbon-free technologies, which currently includes hydropower, tidal and wave energy, on and offshore wind, geothermal, biomass and concentrated solar power (CSP) solutions.

In addition, it allocates substantial R&D efforts to drive innovation to improve efficiency, a key factor in cutting thermal power plant emissions and maximising power transmission performance, and flexibility to ensure the optimal integration of renewable energy into the grid. Alstom is also the world leader in air quality control systems (AQCS) and a pioneer in CO2-capture (carbon capture and storage, CCS) technologies, key to meeting the world’s emissions targets.

Throughout the past 20 years, Alstom’s Transport sector has placed environmental preservation at the heart of its development strategy and continues to do so, creating the conditions necessary for the emergence of real sustainable mobility.

Check out our latest updates: reporting live from COP17  
Alstom, clean mobility - preserving the environment