Statsministerens tale på Nordic Climate Solutions den 8. september 2009

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Thank you very much for giving me the opportunity to speak at Nordic Climate Solutions 2009.

I must say that I’m indeed impressed by this gathering of more than a thousand business representatives. It is impressive and underscores the commitment from international business to focus on climate change and finding solutions to combat it.

And your commitment is indeed needed. We are now rapidly approaching the COP15-meeting. In less than three months – less than 90 days - the world will meet right here in the Bella Center for two weeks of tough negotiations.

The objective is to reach an ambitious and comprehensive global climate change agreement. An agreement that will insure our common goal; a maximum increase in global temperature rise to 2 degree Celsius by 2050.

We are now struggling – hopefully with the aftermath - of the worst economic downturn since the 1930s. When the crisis started a lot of people – including myself – feared that climate change would be shoved into the background of the international agenda. This did not happen.

In fact the crisis has highlighted the opportunities inherent in the transmission to low-carbon economy.

The climate agenda is important; not in spite of the economic crisis; but in fact even more important because of the crisis.

Reaching a climate agreement is not going to be easy. Fundamental changes are always difficult. But if we manage to do this, we can look forward to sustainable growth and prosperity.

Those regions, countries and companies that can create the transition to a new green economy will be the champions of tomorrow. And those at the very front will be the leaders in 10 or 20 years.

In the Nordic counties, we have a long tradition for finding intelligent energy solutions through our vibrant and innovative business communities. And in this endeavour you: the business community will have to show the way, through your innovation and actions.

1. Denmark is going green

Ladies and gentlemen,

It is my Government’s goal that Denmark should be free of fossil fuels. It is possible - with the help of business and science and with the determination of government. Before next election we will set a date as to when and how Denmark will become fully independent of fossil fuels.

But this Danish government is already taking some important steps.

Firstly, we will ensure a massive expansion of renewable energy. Denmark is already a frontrunner in wind power and biomass. We double public funding for research in new energy technologies by 2010.

Secondly, we will increase energy savings. To increase energy efficiency has long been a political priority. Over the last 25 years our economy has grown something like 75 percent while energy consumption has remained broadly stable.

Thirdly, we will invest massively in public transport. Green transportation is the goal. And smart road pricing-systems will reduce CO2 emissions and congestion.

Fourthly, a new green tax reform that lower taxes on work and raises taxes on pollution. We are not afraid to use taxation as a means to change behaviour.

The economic down turn has of course also affected the Danish economy and our budget. But the way out of the crisis is not to look to the politics of the past, but to look at the possibilities of the future.

Last week I announced a new Growth Forum of forward-looking women and men, who shall look into the challenges and opportunities of tomorrow and advise the government on future economic growth and competiveness. No doubt, green economy is one of the opportunities of tomorrow.

We in the Nordic Countries have a long tradition for creating intelligent energy and climate solutions.

Denmark is a leading country when it comes to renewable energy and energy savings. In production of wind turbines we are still a world leader – though the lead is getting narrowed, and competition is getting tougher day by day.

But also with bio fuels and fuel cells are we in front. Denmark is even getting well a head on thermal solar heating and solar electricity.

Given that human resources are one of the major barriers for dissemination of low carbon technology, I am also proud to say that we in Denmark are leading in producing the human resources to apply the technology of tomorrow. Danish architects, engineers and advisors deliver solutions world wide.

2. Markets and possibilities will grow rapidly the coming years – but so will the international competition

Crises and deadlocks have one advantage: they force us to think. The combined climate change and economic crisis surely have forced us to think. We see this all over the world:

In China on average one new wind turbine is raised every hour. Every hour!

Spain is another example among the world leaders when it comes to bio fuels.

And the United States has as a part of the recovery package invested around 80 billion US dollars in energy efficiency and renewable energy.

The need for low carbon solutions makes green tech enterprises mushroom all over the world. The competition is getting tougher, and we have to keep focusing on our competitive advantages, though increased innovation, quality and productivity.

We must combine consideration for environment and climate with growth and private enterprise. We must use the market to create the right incentives. This is to a great extent what we do in Denmark, for example by using green taxes within the framework of the tax freeze.

Green investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency are expected to pay off quickly and to create large employment opportunities.

In 2005 it was estimated that the world market for green technology was 1,000 billion Euros. In 2010 it is estimated at 1,500 billion. That is a growth rate of 50 percent in just five years time. In the last two years, the solar energy industry has doubled worldwide.

The growth in green energy has so far happened as a result of relatively soft market signals. To meet the demands of science and limit the increase in temperature to 2 degrees, we need to make those signals a little harder.

This is also the lesson to be learned from history: During the oil crisis in the 1970's, substantial investments were made in solar power. But it was not enough to make solar power commercially viable.

After the oil prices started dropping again, so did the interest in solar power. The market forces alone were not enough to make solar power take off in a big way.

It is becoming clear that governments have a role to play in creating incentives for markets to deliver the necessary response to climate change. Incentives - that need to be carefully calibrated together with the business community.

That is why I hope, we will succeed in agreeing on a new international climate deal in just about ninety days.

3. The Copenhagen agreement: Business is essential for delivering

Ladies and gentlemen,

Let me finish by sketching out how I see the outcome of the COP-negotiations.

I will do this by focusing on the following five outstanding issues where we would like find a solution in Copenhagen:

Mitigation: We must distribute reductions among the developed countries in a way that will satisfy all. The reductions must be comparable. At the same time we will have to ensure that reductions are in accordance with maximum two degrees global warming in 2050. This will require midterm targets.

Financing: Developed and developing countries will have to agree on how developing countries limit the increase in their emissions. To avoid the environmentally damaging development we have had in our part of the world. And to obtain prosperity. The developed countries must agree on how to split the bill.

Adaptation: We will have to find a way to support the poorest countries in their efforts to adapt to climate change and at the same time enforce their development.

Technology: We need to accelerate international research in green technology and ensure dissemination all over the world.

Finally – and this will be tough - we need to establish the institutional framework for a new climate regime and agree on clear principles about measuring, reporting and possibilities for verification.

The negotiations will with out a doubt be extremely difficult, but that does not change the pivotal necessity of their conclusion.

It is my ambition that COP15 in Copenhagen will pave the way for a green transformation, but your contribution, as business leaders, is indeed critical for this to come true.

That’s why I will end by wishing you a great conference and thank you for your contribution.

Thank you for your attention. I hope that you will enjoy the conference today and tomorrow.


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