Check against delivery
Thank you very much for inviting me to speak this morning – and thank you for the synthesis report.
Once again we are presented with clear and unambiguous evidence that temperature is rising – and even quicker than we would have dared to think.
The scientific community is playing a crucial role in keeping the facts on the table. Both in terms of the problems. And by pointing to the solutions.
The more we are confronted with those facts – the greater is the probability that we will conclude an ambitious agreement in Copenhagen in December.
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What are we expected to deliver in Copenhagen? I will stress three elements:
First of all we have to reverse the trend of CO2 emissions.
Secondly we have to agree on a pathway towards achieving our targets.
Thirdly we have to set in motion the policies and measures to sustain it.
Let me share with you a few reflections on how we approach these ambitious goals:
We need targets and national commitments on reductions of CO2 emissions that will lead to stabilization of global emissions in 2020. Stabilization to a level in accordance with the two degrees Celsius objective.
We all know the specific reduction numbers that are needed to take us within this objective. There is no need for me to repeat them in this forum.
Rather the challenge that I would like to focus on today is the comparability of efforts.
We need to acknowledge that there may be different paths to our final destination. We need to ensure that - irrespective of the path that each of us chooses – it is clear that all of us are moving towards the same ambitious goals. And finally we need to ensure that there is consistency between the pace that we are setting and the planned arrival time at our destination.
If we need to be 100 km from here in an hour we can drive 50 km/hour for some time – but at some stage the pace will certainly have to be increased considerably – and surely we should not wait 50 minutes before we do it.
Ensuring common understanding of solid and transparent comparability of efforts will be an important confidence builder. And also an important element in generating the necessary domestic support for the commitments that each of us will have to take.
Industrialised countries as the EU and the United States must find common ground on midterm targets. A common ground reflecting our high ambitions for the global agreement.
At the same time we need to engage with the emerging economies and developing countries and to come to terms with them on their contribution to the stabilisation in 2020.
Given the size and the urgency of the climate challenge, we must support reductions where we get most tons of carbon dioxide on a given investment.
This implies that we need to ensure that adequate financing is mobilized. And we must ensure that it is firmly linked to specific mitigation and adaptation actions in the emerging economies. Comprehensive low-carbon strategies in developing countries could be a useful tool in this respect.
Another way of ensuring the most efficient return on financing is to invest it in the dissemination of low carbon technology – both new and existing technology. This will be absolutely crucial.
In Denmark for example 20 percent of all electricity production is generated from wind power. By 2020 it could be as much as 27 percent.
As we achieve a significant contribution from wind, we must address problems related to storage and assured peak level supplies. This touches on key high tech areas such as smart grids and electric vehicles.
In the Major Economies Forum, proposals have been made for partnerships on technologies such as bio-energy, carbon capture and storage, renewables, energy efficiency and smart grids. All of them are core technologies.
Let us in each of those areas pursue the creation of “Apollo-type projects” where we all pool our collective knowledge. And realise the full potential of these technologies.
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Let me make a comment about our current economic downturn and our response to climate change.
When you stand by the sea side you cannot see climate change; you can not see the sea level rising no matter how convincing the scientific evidence is. But when you loose your job, the effect of the economic crisis on your everyday life is extremely concrete.
Therefore there is a danger of a shift of interests. And therefore, if we are to succeed in combating climate change, it is crucial that we focus on the opportunities offered by the green agenda.
There is no contradiction between economic growth and ambitious climate policies. On the contrary.
In my mind there is no doubt:
Future prosperity belongs to those who develop front edge innovation and reform our energy supply. Rather than to those who continue to burn coal, oil and gas much the same way we have done it for 100 years.
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Let me conclude with an outline of my vision on the European approach towards Copenhagen.
European leaders are meeting later today. Climate change will be one of the key issues on the agenda as it has been a “tradition” for the past two years. Let me therefore use this opportunity to make a comment on leadership.
In December 2008 the EU took upon itself historical obligations. Yet less than six months later some are questioning EU leadership. And in recent months we have seen others showing willingness to take lead. The Obama administration. Australia. Many are now setting the pace.
I welcome this. This will benefit all of us.
But to let Europe drop behind would be a mistake.
There can be no doubt that the path we have chosen in December last year is the path the European citizens expect of us. And there can be no doubt that we should maintain leadership towards reaching an ambitious global climate agreement.
It is often stated that an effective climate change agreement can not be reached without the full participation of both the US and China. I agree!
But let there be no mistake – nor can it be concluded without the active engagement and leadership of Europe.
We are facing the difficult debate about financing mitigation and adaptation efforts. In March we clearly stated our intentions to take on our fair share of the burden.
Since then we have achieved steady progress in our talks. Today and tomorrow we will agree on a number of fundamental principles setting out the terms for our financial contributions. And in a few months I am convinced that we will reach final decision on all aspects of financing.
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COP15 in Copenhagen may be one of the most important meetings of this new millennium - a meeting where we cannot afford to fail.
It is my sincere hope that in 10-15 years, when we look back at 2009, we will see it as the year where world leaders finally stopped ignoring the strong evidence from the scientific community. The year where we realized the potential of low-carbon transition. The year where we took the necessary decisions.
We still need science to stay engaged. We will draw upon your advice. Also in search for political solutions compatible with political and economic realities.
We must find a way. And I remain confident we will find it.