Statsministerens tale på World Business Summit on Climate Change

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Thank you very much for the kind introduction. And thank you very much for giving me the opportunity to participate in the closing of this summit and to receive your deliberations in The Copenhagen Call.

This summit is an impressive gathering of representatives of international business. Even though international business is suffering from the economic crisis, your statement “The Copenhagen Call” is very clear. You tell governments to be ambitious in our pursuit of a new global climate agreement.

I would like to thank your for that clear call. Your words are sweet music in my ears. It is now we need a new global climate agreement. Not just because of the dangers to our climate, but also because we need to build our future growth. The climate agenda is important not in spite of the economic crisis. But in fact even more important because of the crisis.

During the last 50 years Europeans and Americans have experienced an explosive growth of wealth. It was a growth which ran on fossil fuels, and it has set its mark on the planet.

I 2020 there will be just as many wealthy Asians as we now have Europeans and Americans – or even more. That is the marvel of capitalism, which we should salute. But it also means that we have to think how we can progress without putting our planet in peril.

There is only one way forward; low carbon growth. Our wealth should no longer depend on fossil fuels like oil, coal and gas.

Let me stress: there is no direct connection between economic growth and the use of fossil fuels. Every American emits about 20 tons of CO2 a year. In Denmark we emit on average of 11 tons of CO2 per person. But our wealth per capita does not differ that much.

But to combat the climate problem and secure energy supplies, we have to get down to 4 or maybe 2 tons in the coming decades. How do we advance a global transformation towards a real low carbon economy without jeopardizing our wealth?

Those regions, countries and companies that can answer this question will be the champions of tomorrow. And those at the very front will be the leaders in 10 or 20 years.

I will not mitigate the magnitude of the task ahead of us. But nor will I say it is impossible. Let me give you one example:

If we assume the production from wind power in the US is increased from the current 1 percent of total energy production to 20 percent in 2030. The US Energy Agency has calculated that this would reduce the expected emissions of CO2 in the US with 10 percent. The energy security would be improved and 500.000 jobs would be created in the sector.

In Denmark, already today 20 percent of electricity consumption is generated by wind. So it is a possibility.

Another example: Estimates suggest that the improved pumps in housing and industry can reduce CO2-emissions in China by 25 percent.

And we are already on our way: The stimulus packages introduced in many countries include money for clean energy investments. These are likely to jump-start economies and create new clean energy jobs.

* * *

You have today presented me with your key messages in The Copenhagen Call. I thank you for having made the effort to focus your main findings in a form, which is easy to communicate to political negotiators.

I will not go into detail with each of your single recommendations in the Copenhagen Call, but I will give you my overall political response.

The first thing is ambition

In Copenhagen we must come to an agreement that limits global temperature rise to 2 degrees Celcius as recommended by the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change). This means at least 50 percent reductions of global emissions by the year 2050 compared to 1990.

Developed countries must lead the way by committing to reduce by at least 80 percent in 2050 compared to 1990.

But equally important is ambitious medium range targets by 2020 and beyond. The EU is ready to cut by 30 percent by 2020 compared to 1990 as part of a global agreement. Other industrialised countries must follow suit with comparable efforts.

But we need actions by emerging economies as well. I am encouraged to see the determination of major developing economies to address the problem and initiate the transition to low-carbon growth. Like China who has planed high targets for energy efficiency and will increase renewable energy to 15 percent of their energy consumption in 2020. The developing countries will have to reduce their emissions way below business as usual by 2020 and stabilise their emissions thereafter.

All this will not be easy. It will be difficult, it will be hard, but we must.

The second point is transparency.

Efforts and measures have to be transparent and clear. It is the basis for setting a price on carbon. Transparency is also a precondition for effective marked-based systems that can facilitate investments into the economies with the greatest reduction potential.

The third point is finance.

The developing countries face a particular challenge. We must provide funds to help them transform to low carbon economies. New technologies will be crucial. Forest and better land use must be part of the package. International business will play an important role in dissemination of technology to the developing countries based on funds.

The fourth point is innovation

Mobilizing the innovation in the private sector is pivotal. About 85 percent of investments come from business, and it is the private sector that delivers the products and services that enable consumers to make low carbon choices in their everyday life. Unleashing the potential of the private sector holds the promise for a better future.

The final point is incentives.

You hold in your hands the key to reshaping the world by bringing low carbon products and solutions to the market. Governments cannot and should not.

You can develop new technologies, disseminate it on the market. Governments cannot.

But we in government can create the right incentives for promoting low carbon technologies. We can cut subsidies on energy consumption, we can tax inefficient and polluting products, and we can finance research and development.

To have success with our ambitious climate agenda we must focus on possibilities, not on domes day scenarios. Here your contribution is crucial.

You contribute to making it possible, hopefully, to seal the deal in Copenhagen in December.

Thank you very much.

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