Det talte ord gælder.
Ladies and gentlemen.
Thank you all for coming.
And thank you to the Observer Research Foundation for hosting.
For the past three days, I have had the opportunity to visit your beautiful country.
I – and my delegation – have met with His Excellency Prime Minister Modi.
Almost exactly one year ago, we formed the Green Strategic Partnership between India and Denmark. The first of its kind for both our countries.
I am both humbled and honoured that India chose Denmark for this partnership.
A partnership on the most important issue of our time: Fighting climate change.
In just a few weeks, world leaders will gather in Glasgow for the next UN climate summit.
A crucial summit. A summit that will reveal if we are willing to act – and to deliver on the promises made in the Paris Agreement.
Tackling climate change may seem an impossible task.
But recently, the political winds have started to shift. There is a new belief – a new urgency: We can act on climate change. We can make a difference and determine our destiny.
Today, I want to talk about the big tasks ahead of us. And how we can make it if we work together.
* * *
The current situation is – as you all know – extremely critical.
The latest report from the IPCC has made it very clear: Climate change is happening. Not in the future – it is happening right now.
It is happening faster than we expected. The consequences are more serious than we expected. And it will be more difficult to contain than we thought.
Climate change is not a distant nightmare. Millions of people around the world already feel it. Extreme weather events. Forest fires. Heatwaves.
The climate crisis is – without a doubt – the biggest challenge of all.
It affects us all. And it can only be addressed if we all do our part.
If we take responsibility. Each of us. Together.
We must come to the only logical conclusion: That we must live, consume and transport ourselves in a way that takes care of our planet – and takes care of each other.
That we must use natural resources in a way that respects the needs of the generations to come.
It will require difficult decisions.
Green economic growth will provide the same prosperity for the growing middle class in emerging economies that we enjoy in Denmark.
Green transition must uplift society, not limit welfare.
Denmark is proof that you can grow the economy and become greener at the same time. We have enjoyed strong economic growth and have managed to reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions significantly.
My key message for you today is this:
We can make tomorrow better than today. Clean air. Better lives. Innovation. Green jobs. Sustainable growth. A green future.
World leaders must show that they have the courage to make the right political decisions.
Because what is the alternative?
More of the same – but with the terrible effects of climate change included.
This is not a real choice. It is not the choice of those who want a better future for their children and grandchildren.
We need to push for a green transition of the global economy.
* * *
First of all, we have to set high ambitions.
That is what Denmark did two years ago.
In 2019, we made the decision to cut our greenhouse gas emissions by no less than 70 percent by 2030.
We even adopted a climate law to make it legally binding.
And every year, we have to present a detailed plan for implementation to make sure that we stay on track to reach these ambitious goals.
Let me be totally honest with you: At that time, we did not know how to make it happen.
And we did worry: Was the goal too ambitious? Was it visionary or was it naïve?
We spoke openly about this challenge: We did not have all the answers in advance. We had to build a new green highway while driving full speed ahead.
But we made a choice. We decided to let ambition set the pace of transition. Not the other way around.
From the outset, we were not sure which technologies were going to bring us to the goal.
We knew we needed to kick-start a green transition of the entire Danish society.
Industry. Transportation. Agriculture.
We decided to end coal in our energy production. And to shut down our oil and gas production by 2050.
We invested heavily in developing new green solutions. More renewables. New research and innovation.
And we worked closely with the private sector to make it happen.
Now – only two years down the road – we are almost halfway towards our 70 percent target.
The political ambition has driven innovation. Our ambition has moved us forward faster than we thought possible.
* * *
We know now that we are able to deliver on our ambition.
And we know the solutions to get us there: Carbon capture, green fuels, green farming techniques and massive expansion of renewable energy capacity. Just to name a few.
Today, nearly 70 percent of Denmark’s electricity comes from renewable energy.
But we need to do even more.
In fact, we all have to do more. Developed countries and the powerful new emerging economies.
We all need to step up and take responsibility for our common future. Also Denmark.
We are planning new offshore wind farms.
We will soon be building the world’s first energy islands – with the ambition to supply millions of Europeans with green energy. And to turn green electricity into green hydrogen, providing clean fuels for air transport, shipping and industries that are difficult to electrify.
Next year, we will present new proposals for further greening of our industry and our energy supply, and for making more climate-friendly choices available to consumers. Affordable electric cars. Clean sources of heating. Sustainable farming products. Green electricity.
It will also create jobs. Plenty of green jobs for local communities.
Not everything can be decided politically. We need the private sector on board as well.
That is why we have formed climate partnerships with all branches of Danish business.
The private sector is a driver for change and innovation. We need public-private collaborations in order to accelerate the green transition.
We have had to make difficult decisions as well:
Shutting down our production of oil and gas in the North Sea – that means leaving money in the ground so to speak.
Closing the last coal-fired power plants and putting a stop to financing fossil fuel projects abroad.
These decisions are difficult. They change the status quo – rock the boat.
But, these decisions will lead to new opportunities, new jobs, and new, sustainable development.
I hope that our example will inspire others to follow.
To let ambitions decide the pace of the green transition. And to over-achieve.
* * *
Of course, setting ambitious climate goals is not enough.
We need to deliver on them.
I know this is as important to India as it is to Denmark. We don’t just set targets. We deliver real change.
India is a good example of the same approach.
In 2019, India decided to set the important goal of expanding its target for renewable energy to 450 gigawatts by 2030.
This August, you crossed the milestone of 100 gigawatts.
That is truly a testimony to Prime Minister Modi’s leadership on renewable energy.
To quote Prime Minister Modi’s words at the UN General Assembly last month:
“When India reforms, the world transforms.”
With the Green Strategic Partnership between India and Denmark, we have a unique framework for cooperation.
As Prime Minister Modi has put it: Denmark has the skills. India has the scale.
We already cooperate closely on offshore wind, on long-term energy planning, and on integrating renewable energy.
Now we are expanding cooperation to other areas: environment, water management, and urban planning.
Areas where Danish skills and knowhow, hopefully, can facilitate an ambitious green transition of India.
Denmark has more than 40 years of experience with green transition.
We have shown that the green transition can be a driver for jobs and growth. Not the opposite, as many fear.
And that it is possible to grow the economy and become greener at the same time.
We have decoupled economic growth, energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.
For many years people said that this was not possible – that climate action meant reducing economic activity.
We have proven them wrong.
In fact, since 2005 our economy has grown by 20 percent. While our greenhouse gas emissions has fallen by 34 percent.
We want to share that experience and our green solutions with our partner countries.
* * *
Green transition cannot happen without investments.
Financing is key to reaching an ambitious result in Glasgow.
And the world’s richest countries must deliver.
Denmark is ready to do so.
We will scale up our grant-based climate finance for developing countries. To at least 500 million dollars a year.
The poorest countries are often hit the hardest by climate change.
That is why at least 60 percent of our grant-based climate finance will be dedicated to climate adaptation in the most vulnerable countries.
We would also like to mobilize public and private finance from other sources. In total, Denmark will contribute at least 1 percent of the collective global target of 100 billion dollars.
This is well above Denmark’s share. We hope it is a strong signal that Denmark is fully behind the goals of the Paris Agreement.
We hope this will inspire others to follow.
* * *
Ladies and gentlemen.
Right now, we must all focus our energy on COP26 in Glasgow.
The world needs a successful result. And both India and Denmark have important parts to play.
Expectations are high. With good reason.
The IPCC report has increased climate awareness all over the world. People know that their future welfare and well-being is at stake.
We cannot disappoint.
Denmark calls on all countries to take responsibility. To set high green ambitions. And to put action behind words.
We must deliver.
Time is short, but the time is right.