"Listening to you, I have the feeling that you and I exist in alternative universes," said Ingo Puhl of South Pole Group, in response to Stephen D. Eule, a policy specialist at the research arm of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, who suggested a "a revised [emissions] pledge more in line with reality" that would be "much less ambitious".
The heated tussle took place at the Bonn Climate Change Conference in Germany this week, where world leaders met to discuss the next steps in implementing the goals outlined in the Paris Agreement. Mr Puhl, who is the Director of Strategy at South Pole Group, argued that a transition toward renewable energy sources was inevitable, not just for environmental benefits but for the financial opportunities it created.
The Conference takes place at an important moment for US stakeholders, as more recent talks about next steps after Paris have been overshadowed by the specter of the Trump administration abandoning the deal. But with the overall agreement ratified, nations are now hashing out exactly how they will meet the goal of limiting global warming to 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit above the preindustrial level.
In a statement, the U.S. chamber contended that a market-based approach and new technologies would continue to lead to carbon emission reductions.