There's growing speculation about what might be accomplished at the United Nation's climate change conference in Copenhagen Dec. 7-18, especially now that the world's two biggest carbon emitters—the U.S. and China—have outlined both bilateral and individual goals in reducing emissions.
Business is watching closely to see if a global agreement can be reached anytime soon—the earliest time now looks to be 2010—but it's hardly standing on the sidelines waiting.
Some say climate change is the next great technological fonder as well as profit center. Technology is being developed, manufactured and sold. The same goes for goods and services.
Though fortunes will be lost, more will be made, and CNBC wants to help break down what a reduction in carbon emissions means for business and investors.
Towards that end, nine chief executives and chairmen from around the world have signed up for an exclusive CNBC initiative aimed at identifying opportunities in clean technology and the the larger business of sustainability.
Here's the council members. Watch for them on CNBC.
Chad Holliday, Chairman of DuPont
Industry: Seed producer, chemical maker
Revenue: $31.84 bn.
Carbons Cut: Between 1990 and 2003, the company cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 73 percent.
Carbon Goals: Decrease greenhouse gas emissions by an additional 15 percent from a base year of 2004 by 2015. (Watch the interview here.)
Léo Apotheker, CEO of SAP
Revenue: €11.58 bn. ($17.23 bn.)
Carbons Cut: Cut its CO2 by 6.75 percent between January 1, 2008 and December 31, 2008.
Carbon Goals: Reduce CO2emissions to 2000 levels by 2020. (Watch the interview here.)
Mike Splinter, CEO of Applied Materials
Industry: Maker of Chip-production machinery
Revenue: $8.13 bn.
Carbons Cut: Cut carbon footprint by over 20,000 metric tons or 10 percent since 2006.
Carbon Goals: Reduce CO2 emissions by 20 percent by 2012 from a 2006 baseline.
Lars G. Josefsson, CEO of Vattennfall
Revenue: SEK 164.55 bn. (23.9 mn.)
Carbons Cut: Decreased CO2 emissions by 3 percent between 2007 and 2008.
Carbon Goals: Cut CO2 emissions per kWh in half by 2030 compared to 1990; become climate neutral by 2050. (Watch the interview here.)
John Rowe, CEO of Exelon
Revenue: $18.86 bn.
Carbon Cuts: Cutalmost 6 million metric tons of CO2.
Carbon Goals: Reduce 15 million metric tons of CO2 emissions by 2020. (Watch the interview here.)
Dr. Zhengrong Shi, CEO and Chairman of Suntech
Revenue: $4.14 bn.
Carbons Cut: NA
Carbon Goals: NA
Mike Mack, CEO of Syngenta
Industry: Agricultural Chemicals
Revenue: $11.62 bn.
Carbons Cut: Cut 19 percent in CO2 emissions per dollar of EBIT from the 2006 baseline
Carbon Goals: Decrease CO2 emissions relative to EBITA by 40 percent by 2012 compared with 2006. (Watch the interview here.)
William McCracken, Chairman of CA
Revenue: $4.27 bn.
Carbons Cut: Reduced carbon footprint over 30% in the last two years.
Carbon Goals: "CA does not forecast its future emissions and/or energy use at present." - CA's 2008 Sustainability Report (.)
Hans Wijers, CEO of Akzo Nobel
Revenue: €15.41 bn. ($22.9 bn.)
Carbons Cut: Reduced CO2 emissions 1 percent per ton of production in 2008.
Carbon Goals: Cut cradle-to-gate carbon footprint by 20-25 percent per ton of product by 2020 compared to 2009. (Watch the interview here.)
*Revenue based on 2008 figures