Statement by Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen at the GLOBE Copenhagen Legislators Forum on 24 October 2009
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Allow me to use the opportunity of your presence here at this critical juncture to share with you my vision of the Copenhagen Climate Conference. To share my aspirations, my perspective and my strategy.
Let me start out by stating the obvious: We cannot compromise on our ambitions to limit man made global warming to a maximum of two degrees centigrade.
Science is very clear on this point: If we continue to increase the concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, we are bound to pass a number of critical tipping points that may lead to dire consequences.
And it is also clear that we can halt or change the trend. It is doable and indeed profitable compared to the cost of inaction, the cost of doing nothing.
The figures are well known. They will have to guide our efforts: Man made emissions should be halved by mid century.
This implies that industrialized counties reduce with at least 80 percent from 1990 levels. This implies that emerging economies take rapid action to limit the growth of their emissions.
To me this is the starting point. And my aspiration for Copenhagen is simple: We must conclude a binding agreement that will set the world on the path to limit global warming to a maximum of two degrees.
I know that many ask whether this is possible. And whether we are on track to reaching global consensus on such an agreement?
My answer is clear. Yes, it is possible.
The transition of the world economy into a low carbon development path is already under way. And political determination and investment is developing momentum at unprecedented scale.
Are we on track for an ambitious agreement? Well, here the answer is less clear. Negotiations have been ongoing for almost two years and progress has been painfully slow. Clearly, at current speed, we will not make it in the remaining weeks.
On the other hand: One should not underestimate the progress made: Over the span of these two years, virtually all countries with major emissions have adopted ambitious climate legislation. And others are mounting new plans and political momentum to get them approved. Developed and developing countries alike are already committed to adopting both the targets and the policies that will help to curb emissions.
The world is changing and part of our task in Copenhagen is to capture this wave of change and turn it into an even stronger global commitment to meet the challenge of global warming. In doing so, we shall build on our commitments to agreed legal instruments, from the 1992 United Nations Framework Convention to the Bali Road Map from 2007.
Within the negotiations good progress has been made on a number of subjects, such as adaptation, technology and forests.
We now need to resolve a number of key political questions remaing as yet unresolved: Questions linked to the commitment of developed countries to ambitious midterm reduction targets. Questions linked to the commitment of developing countries to pursue national actions to reduce growth in their emissions. Critical issues in relation to finance and the system of transparency.
The sense of urgency is setting in as we approach the deadline. It is time to give full speed to the negotiations. And we will act to make it happen.
Therefore, in less than a week in Barcelona, The Danish Minister for Climate and Energy will convene a group of fellow ministers from all parts of the world to kick start the last remaining negotiation week with a strong and clear political commitment.
Moreover, ten days after the conclusion of the Barcelona meeting, the minister will again convene a ministerial meeting at the Pre-COP to be organized by mid-November in Copenhagen. With the mobilization of the necessary political will we can ensure that the negotiations progress to a point where we by Copenhagen can outline the elements that will form the core of a new, ambitious climate agreement.
As the incoming presidency of the Conference, I have engaged over the last weeks and months in intensive consultations with leaders from around the world.
Their message is clear: Let’s do it! And let’s do it in Copenhagen.
I sense an unprecedented political commitment to seize the moment. I sense that the scope of the problem is well understood. And I sense that the advantages of early action are generally shared:
We must move beyond the past and quick-start the future.
I hear the same message from populations and from business around the world. We need to act. And we need to act now. We need to lower the cost and seize the opportunities inherent in the transition.
On this basis, I suggest that we lock in the determination to act already by Copenhagen and seek political commitments for immediate implementation.
I believe that all the key components of the deal can be achieved in Copenhagen.
In order to achieve this, the Copenhagen Agreement should be ambitious; it should binding and it should be concrete.
It should build on the principles established by the existing legal framework, most notably the principle of a common but differentiated responsibility.
It should capture and encourage the contributions individual countries are willing to undertake within all areas of the Bali Road Map, including specific and binding commitments on mitigation and finance. In the context of immediate action, significant up front finance for both early mitigation and adaptation efforts of the poorest and most vulnerable countries will be of particular importance.
In order to ensure transparency and that the individual countries are standing behind their commitments and deliver on their promises, we shall also need a system of measurement, reporting and verification.
This is the agreement we must reach. It will both provide guidance for our lawyers to finalize the details of the internationally legal binding agreement and for world leaders to commit to specific immediate action, starting January 2010.
In this way, Copenhagen could provide for immediate action based on a comprehensive set of binding, political commitments from world leaders.
The Copenhagen Agreement would thus serve two purposes:
1) to direct further negotiations towards concluding outstanding details in a new legal climate regime;
2) to capture and encourage political commitment in order to provide for immediate action to combat global warming.
Political commitment to immediate action will also serve to focus and strengthen the negotiations on the legal agreement. It is important that these two purposes will merge in one decision at COP15.
In the coming weeks, I will systematically seek to engage a growing number of leaders. Let us call it “The Copenhagen Commitment Circle”. Our joined goal should be to keep the momentum high in order to reach agreement on a binding, global agreement in Copenhagen and make sure we can start implementing it immediately.
I call on every one of you present here today as well as every leader around the world to engage to make this vision reality. With the expected progress in the coming weeks, we shall pave the way for leaders to meet in Copenhagen in order to seal the deal.
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Dear fellow parliamentarians. Your contribution is essential. And I’m impressed by the magnitude of this gathering across nations, continents and chambers.
You have a particularly critical role - in terms of shaping and passing domestic legislation. You are the ones whom can make or break the negotiations in December, according to the mandates to adopt for your governments.
And after COP15, you can hold governments accountable on both national and international commitments.
Therefore, I fully support your initiatives in Globe International. I’m looking forward to your report, and hope to see you all again here in Copenhagen in December.