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Stavros Dimas

Member of the European Commission, responsible for

The Road to Copenhagen

Seminar on climate change, House of Europe, Stockholm

Brussels, 6 April 2009
Ladies and gentlemen,
Good afternoon and thank you for joining us at this seminar today.
The road to Copenhagen is one of the most important that the international
community has travelled for many years. The need for ambitious global action to
control climate change is becoming increasingly urgent.
From record losses of summer sea ice in the Arctic to the record heat wave and
deadly bushfires that ravaged southern Australia in February, we are already seeing
a growing catalogue of climate impacts.
And there is mounting evidence that impacts of climate change will be faster and
even more severe than those projected by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate
Change just two years ago.
The disturbing message from the international scientific congress held in
Copenhagen last month was that the IPCC's worst-case scenarios are being realised
– and may even be exceeded.
If we take as an example the projections for rises in sea level: the IPCC's fourth
assessment report projected a sea level rise of between 18 and 59 centimetres by
the year 2100 if action is not taken to limit global emissions. The latest research
presented at the Copenhagen conference predicts a rise of at least one metre. This
would threaten the very existence of small island states and low-lying areas around
the world.
If we allow these worst-case scenarios to become reality, climate change could
reach devastating levels as early as 2050; that is within the lifetime of well over a
billion of today's young people.
It is therefore more important than ever to reach an ambitious and comprehensive
global agreement in Copenhagen.
A 'Global' agreement means just that – it must lead to strengthened emission
reduction commitments by developed countries and increased action by developing
ones. It is clear from the science that we will not limit the temperature increase to
2°C without the involvement of the developing world, particularly the big emerging
economies such as China, India and Brazil.
But it is clear that we will only get developing countries on board if the developed
world lives up to its responsibilities by committing to ambitious efforts first.
The European Union has demonstrated its leadership by committing to far-reaching
emissions targets and by putting in place the concrete measures necessary to
deliver on them.
Last December's agreement on the climate and energy package puts Europe firmly
on the road to becoming an energy efficient, low-carbon economy. By 2020 our
greenhouse gas emissions will be 20% below 1990 levels and the package lays the
basis for scaling this up to 30% if other developed countries commit to comparable
reductions under the Copenhagen agreement.
Europe's leadership is also evident in the domestic action being taken in a number of
member states. In this context I very much welcome the climate and energy bill
recently proposed by the Swedish government, which aims to reduce emissions
from sectors outside the EU Emissions Trading System to 40% below 1990 levels in
This goes well beyond what Sweden has agreed to do under the ‘effort-sharing’
decision at EU level. In particular, the goal of making your transport sector
independent of fossil fuels by 2020 is very impressive.

But leadership by Europe alone is not enough. We need shared leadership by the
developed world as a whole if we are to carry developing countries along with us.
President Obama’s commitment to take international leadership on climate change,
and the speech by his special climate envoy Todd Stern at the start of the
negotiations now under way in Bonn, signal an immensely encouraging shift in
America’s position. So does last week's proposal by Congressmen Waxman and
Markey for a climate and energy bill, including a federal cap-and-trade system.
Now we need to see how this will be reflected in the US negotiating positions.
Clearly, we also want to see other developed countries rallying to this constructive
attitude - particularly those that have hidden behind U.S. reticence until now. Those
of you from the NGO community - please keep up the pressure!
Some constituencies may argue that addressing climate change should wait until
the economic crisis is over. But the fact is we cannot afford to wait.
From the work of Lord Stern and the IPCC in particular, we know that doing nothing
to stop climate change will in the end cost our economies far more than taking
action now – indeed, up to 20% or more of global annual GDP in the long run.
Moreover, we can, and we must, tackle the economic crisis and the climate crisis
together by accelerating investment in an energy-efficient, low-carbon economy. By
doing so we are supporting economic growth and creating green jobs in the near
term while laying the basis for a more sustainable economy for the future.
These considerations have inspired the European Economic Recovery Plan and are
also being followed by our international partners. As well as the US, China and
South Korea have included green components in their stimulus plans.
This underlines how much the shift to a low-carbon economy that Copenhagen must
bring is a huge opportunity for the businesses that will develop and market the
solutions. Europe’s business community has every reason to follow the Copenhagen
process closely and to actively contribute to it.
Ladies and gentlemen,
The European Union has a comprehensive vision for the Copenhagen agreement.
Let me summarise this vision in seven points.
Firstly, it has long been the EU's objective to limit average global warming to less
than 2°C above the temperature in pre-industrial times. 2°C is widely considered the
'tipping point' beyond which irreversible and potentially catastrophic environmental
changes will become far more likely.
This translates into less than 1.2°C above the temperature today, so the window of
opportunity for staying within this limit is closing fast.
To have a fighting chance of keeping climate change under control, the world will
need to cut global emissions to at least 50% below 1990 levels by 2050. Developed
countries will have to go further, with cuts of 80-95%, to leave room for developing
countries to lift themselves out of poverty.
In order to get global emissions onto the right trajectory, we will need to stabilise
them before 2020.
This brings me to my second point. Developed countries have a moral obligation and
an historic responsibility to lead the way in cutting emissions, and the resources to
do so.
The science tells us that they need to reduce their collective emissions to 30%
below 1990 levels by 2020. Each developed country must take on its fair share of

the effort through binding targets. We have proposed a balanced set of criteria
against which the comparability of these targets can be measured.
My third point is that it is essential that the developing world takes appropriate action
to contain its emissions growth. The latest science indicates that to keep within the
2°C temperature limit, developing country emissions will need to be some 15 to 30%
below business as usual levels in 2020.
Central to our proposals for developing countries are low-carbon development
strategies which would cover all key emitting sectors while encouraging further
economic growth.
Developing countries would draw up these strategies setting out what they intend to
do to mitigate emissions and identifying the actions for which they would need
external financial and technological assistance. A mechanism to be established
under the Climate Convention would then assess the adequacy of these actions and
match up the identified needs with the necessary support.
Fourthly, given that tropical deforestation accounts for around 20% of global
emissions, the Copenhagen agreement must create incentives to at least halve
tropical deforestation by 2020 and halt global forest cover loss by 2030. Furthermore,
it must set targets for reducing emissions from international aviation and shipping.
Both of these sectors are large and growing emission sources which have so far
been excluded from international emission reduction commitments.
Fifthly, adaptation to climate change is of crucial importance, particularly for
vulnerable developing countries, and must be comprehensively addressed in
In the negotiations the EU has proposed a framework for adaptation action which
has found wide support. Last week the Commission published a White Paper setting
out a phased approach to establishing a comprehensive EU adaptation strategy.
Although the paper predominantly covers the EU it points to the importance of
continuing efforts to facilitate adaptation in third countries especially in neighbouring
and the most vulnerable developing countries.
My sixth point can be summarised as 'no money, no deal'.
It is absolutely clear that the developed world will have to substantially scale up
financial, technological and capacity building support to help developing countries
cope with the challenges of both mitigation and adaptation.
The EU is committed to taking on its fair share of this financing, which we believe
must come from a mix of public and private sources at bilateral and multilateral level,
including an expanded international carbon market. This was reiterated strongly by
Heads of states and governments at the last Spring Council.
Various approaches for leveraging public finance have been proposed and are being
duly considered. The EU is participating constructively in this crucial debate,
keeping in mind the need to ensure the necessary predictability of such finance
My final point is the importance of expanding the international carbon market. This is
an essential tool for achieving the deep emission cuts needed in the most cost-
effective way.
The carbon market can also be a major source of the additional financing needed.
Member States have agreed that at least 50% of revenues from the auctioning of
emission allowances in the EU should be used to combat climate change, both at
home and abroad.

Our vision is to build an OECD-wide carbon market by 2015 by linking the EU
emissions trading system with compatible cap-and-trade systems being set up in
other industrialised countries. The moves underway to introduce a U.S. federal cap-
and-trade system, point to the real possibility that a transatlantic carbon market
could be in place from around 2012, and this is enormously encouraging.
We also want to see the Clean Development Mechanism reformed, and in the case
of highly competitive sectors in advanced developing countries the need for a
sectoral crediting mechanism that generates credits once a whole sector does better
than an agreed emissions benchmark. This sectoral crediting mechanism should be
a stepping stone to the introduction of cap-and-trade systems in the big emerging
economies from 2020.
Ladies and gentlemen,
The countdown to Copenhagen has begun. Tomorrow (April 7) it will be exactly eight
months until the conference starts. As things stand, these eight months contain less
than five weeks of face-to-face negotiating time.
That means we must also make the most of opportunities for discussion and debate
in other fora. In particular, the G8 summit in July and the revamped Major
Economies Forum can make important contributions to the UN process and to
maintaining political momentum.
The stakes could not be higher. Copenhagen is the world’s last chance to put global
emissions on a track that can prevent dangerous climate change. It is an historic
opportunity we cannot afford to miss.
As presidency in office in the second half of this year, Sweden will have a crucial role
to play in Copenhagen in negotiating on behalf of the EU together with the
Commission. There can be no more important time for leadership by a member state
that has always been in the vanguard of environmental protection.
I look forward to working with Minister Carlgren to ensure success in Copenhagen.
Thank you.