Statsministerens tale ved Project Syndicate Congress den 9. oktober 2009

Det talte ord gælder


Ladies and gentlemen of the press, ministers, honoured guests,

It is indeed a great pleasure for me to welcome almost 300 media representatives from more than 119 different countries. Welcome to Copenhagen. Welcome to the Copenhagen Opera House.

Your conference is a truly global gathering, where you - together with colleagues from around the world - will address the science, the business and the politics of climate change.

Topic and a location are well chosen. In only 58 days Copenhagen will host the United Nations Climate Change Conference.

The goal is clear, and widely supported. It is to conclude a global agreement. Setting the course to maximise the rise in global temperatures to a maximum of 2 degrees Celsius.

It might sound like a modest goal. Unfortunately, it is not.

Concluding a global agreement is about securing our future generations. It is about assisting millions of people already affected by climate change. It is about creating more green jobs. Clean energy. Better climate. Green growth.

It is not often we as politicians get a chance to chart out a new course for our planet. One of these rare moments is coming up this December. Here in Copenhagen. We know, that you – the media – will play an important – and equally difficult role.

In recent years - seen from a newspaper perspective - climate change has moved from the back of the newspaper – through the science and technology pages, via the domestic and Foreign Affairs sections, and – for better and for worse – onto the front pages.

But how to convey the scientific debate without “crying wolf!” one time to many?

How to point out the business opportunities of transition to a public already strained by economic crisis?

How to make readers comprehend the political solutions to problems this complicated?

I hope that your deliberations in the coming two days will shed more light on these and other important questions. I would like to direct a warm thank to Project Syndicate and its devoted and creative leadership for arranging this event – and for choosing Copenhagen as the venue. ̈

* * *

Ladies and gentlemen,

If the goal of December’s conference in Copenhagen is clear, then how close are we to reaching it?

The world has already come a long way. By now many countries have developed far reaching national emission reduction policies. They are implementing low carbon development plans. They realize that the green agenda is both vital to combat global warming. And at the same time part of the solution to the current economic crisis.

This is indeed encouraging. We are moving in the right direction.

So can we lean back and let national actions unfold? Well, if we do the math – if we sum up all the national emission reductions under way – then the figures do not add up. We are still only half way there.

We have to do more. National actions, although ambitious, are not enough. And this is exactly why we need a new global agreement. An agreement that can create the framework to lead the world the rest of the way.

This global framework should be ambitious, binding and based on the following 5 key elements:

Firstly, industrialized countries must commit to substantial reduction targets in the short and medium term. They must take the lead and accept their special historic responsibility. But their efforts will not be enough.

Secondly, the major developing countries must commit to unilateral mitigation actions and to substantial deviations from ”business-as-usual”. Further additional efforts must be supported by international finance. Only with these combined efforts will we reach our overall reduction target.

Thirdly, we must assist the most vulnerable developing countries in their attempts to adapt to the unavoidable effects of climate change.

Fourthly, we must strengthen the carbon market and the private sector involvement through adoption of a framework that creates the necessary incentives for green investments.

Finally, we must establish a system for measurement, reporting and verification which should also provide for regular review of efforts. We must build trust among nations, and create a system that delivers. This is not about formalities or pointing fingers, but about achieving practical results.

* * *

Climate change is a global challenge and it calls for global solutions. That is why the United Nations provides the framework for the negotiations. I am happy to have the former United Nations Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, with us tonight. Mr Annan, I thank you for your continued efforts to help make this world a better place.

* * *

With no disrespect, it is no secret that the UN negotiations are progressing at a slow pace. This has been reported also in your newspapers. With COP15 only two months away should we be worried? Can we seal the deal in Copenhagen? Lets me share with you my impressions on the current status of negotiations:

During the last weeks I have had meetings with the President of the United States, the Prime Minister of India, the President of South Africa, the new Prime Minister of Japan, The President of Brazil, many of my European colleagues as well as other leaders.

How can I sum up my impressions?

First of all, the political commitment is certainly present and the sense of urgency as well.

Secondly, everyone points to Copenhagen and stress the imperative of reaching a strong agreement.

Thirdly, there is also wide agreement on the overall goal in terms of global emission reductions.
After that, it becomes a little tricky. We are not yet there. Sharing the effort and domestic barriers are still obstacles. Obstacles that we will have to deal with in the coming months.

But let me tell you, that many countries are consulting each other. Trying to overcome the obstacles. Reaching out. Seeking common ground.
We are making and receiving many phonecalls. And I can tell you that we are receiving good signals. Positive advice and info. The diplomacy is intense. And the will is certainly there.

And therefore I remain an optimist. I believe we can actually reach an agreement. An ambitious agreement. My feeling is, that common sense will prevail, and we will find practical solutions to the outstanding obstacles.

* * *

My trust in common sense and practical solutions has a strong foundation in our own experience in this country.

The Denmark that you visit is indeed a green nation. We have taken the necessary decisions and we have created a highly competitive green economy.

With us tonight, we have some of the CEO’s of leading Danish green tech companies. Their companies show green business is good business. That the business champions of tomorrow will be in green tech.

I believe this was also one of the reasons why Denmark was chosen to host the COP15. As far as energy solutions goes, we have a lot to offer.

Since 1980 Denmark has experienced growth at 78 percent, and still our energy consumption has remained stable.

Last month I opened the world’s largest off shore wind turbine park in the North Sea with 91 wind turbines at sea – it was a very impressive sight. These turbines will produce enough electricity to supply 200.000 households.

Next year 20 percent. of Danish energy production will stem from renewables. By 2020 it will be 30 percent; most of this will come from wind turbines.

* * *

Let me conclude by underlining that a political agreement of the intended magnitude requires full engagement at the highest political level. Success will depend on the continued engagement of Heads of States and Governments. As we approach a global agreement, Denmark intends to invite all Heads of States and Governments to come to Copenhagen and close COP15 at the summit level.

I will leave you with three key messages:
- Climate change is real and it is on our common interest to act.
- A global agreement is urgent and doable in Copenhagen.
- The personal envolvement and commitment of Heads of State and Government is essential.

* * *

Ladies and gentlemen, once again welcome to Copenhagen. I wish you and Project Syndicate a stimulating and productive conference.

I hope you will enjoy Denmark. And enjoy it to such an extent, that you will be back in December to report on COP15.

And when you do return, then please bring your respective heads of state and government, so we can seal this deal in Copenhagen.

Thank you for the attention, enjoy your evening, thank you.

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