Actually, he was thought provoking on any number of topics, so much so that as the standing ovation began the Prime Minister would have been forgiven for wondering what his career prospects would be like if he could deliver all his speeches to an audience of liberal intellectuals and technology entrepreneurs.
But back to his thoughts on climate change. As part of a wide-ranging speech calling for the creation of new international institutions to cope with a world irreversibly changed for the better by technology and mass communication, Brown argued that there was an urgent need for a new global climate change body to oversee the transition to a global economy.
It is worth quoting him at length:
"Is it not absolutely scandalous that we have a situation where we know that there is a climate change problem, where we know also that that will mean we will have to give more resources to developing countries to deal with that, where we want to create a global carbon market, but there is no global institution that people have been able to agree upon to deal with this problem?
"One of the things that has to come out of Copenhagen in the next few months is an agreement that there will be a global environmental institution that is able to deal with the problems of persuading the whole of the world to move along a climate change agenda."
With less than six months to go until Copenhagen it would have been nice for the Prime Minister to pipe up a bit earlier about what he wants to see on the agenda, but he makes a valid if somewhat belated point.
The issue of how any Copenhagen agreement will be managed and enforced has been strangely absent from the negotiating process thus far, mainly because it raises dilemmas even more complex and contentious than the still unresolved question of shared emission targets.
Brown's call for a new institution has a certain base appeal. Just as the recently launched International Renewable Energy Agency was formed as a direct challenge to the International Energy Agency's perceived inability to take renewables seriously, it is extremely tempting to respond to the UN's failure to properly enforce Kyoto and the World Bank's abject failure to accelerate the roll out of clean technologies by basically telling them that "if you can't do it, we'll get someone else in".
But the question that Brown's speech begs is whether a new institution would prove any more successful than the current mechanisms for curbing carbon emissions?
A dedicated International Low Carbon Agency or UN Climate Change Programme would certainly increase focus on global warming, but its success would depend entirely on how much power it is entrusted with.
A new agency would require the ability to impose real sanctions on those countries that breach emission targets, creating an environment where failure to cut emissions is as embarrassing and damaging for a country as having to turn to the IMF for a bail out. Any international agency tasked with policing carbon targets, promoting sustainable behaviour, managing the carbon market and distributing clean tech funds to the developing world, would from day one have to be as powerful as the World Bank, the IEA and the IMF combined. In fact, we'd need an institution pretty much on a par with the UN Security Council - although given its recent record a Climate Security Council might have to be even more powerful than that.
This is not an unreasonable ask given the scale of the threat climate change presents, but nor is it a particularly realistic one. The US and China are simply not going to agree to an institution capable of imposing meaningful penalties on those who fail to cut emissions, and even if they do it's a safe bet they will be ignored.
So will Copenhagen be worth the paper it is written on? Would Brown's International Carbon Police make one iota of difference?
Well, yes and no. An ambitious and meaningful deal will be hugely helpful, driving investment, delivering legislative certainty, stimulating innovation and raising the profile of the climate change threat. Equally, a tough new international climate change body cannot do any worse than the current agencies tasked with cutting global emissions, and might just do a lot better.
But the global transition to a low carbon economy will only be realised when there is a near universal acceptance that this course of action is better and more cost effective than the alternative. Until there is agreement that a wind or solar farm will always make more sense than a coal plant, any international climate change institution will be ignored in much the same way that today's global bodies are ignored by those regimes who refuse to accept basic humanitarian values. Sadly, as Brown's speech made clear in references to Zimbabwe, Burma and Iran, international institutions alone are rarely strong enough to force governments to act in ways they do not want to.
This is the challenge faced by political and business leaders - to make low carbon a universally accepted economic model, a "no brainer" for firms and individuals the world over.
Institutions and international treaties will help in this process, but the real onus is on businesses to develop products and services that are not just greener, but unequivocally better than any alternatives. Ultimately, it is up to us, not institutions, to deliver the low carbon future.
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