Conference on Low Carbon Economic Development - Key for Economic Growth and Sustainable Development Beijing 27 March 2010 Speech by German Ambassador Dr. Michael Schaefer Lord Nicolas Stern, Mr. Su Wei, dear Ambassador Abou, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, I am pleased to join you at this important conference. The German Federal Minister for the Environment, Dr. Norbert Röttgen, has asked me to pass on his best wishes for a successful conference. He would have liked to participate, but had to defer his visit to Beijing until early April. The smoke after Kopenhagen has lifted a bit, emotions have calmed down on all sides, and we are in a better position today to take stock, see where we stand and compare notes. I think it would be wrong to entertain in blame games, we should rather look forward and discuss where we stand and where we need to intensify our efforts to make this process successful. To start on a positive note: I am confident that all major players - industrialized countries, emerging economies and developing countries - have understood and agree, that our action in trying to fight climate change is probably the most important single issue which we are facing globally. And it certainly is, if we take a strategic perspective. One thing is clear and should guide us: if we fail to produce substantive results sufficient of containing global warming below an increase of 2 centigrades, we will confront our children and grandchildren with a disaster of historic proportions. So where do we stand after Kopenhagen? We believe: The Copenhagen Accord was an important step, but it did not take us far enough. The Accord has won the support of more than 100 countries and thus can be seen as a solid basis for future actions. In substance, what we achieved in Copenhagen was reaching a consensus on the 2 °C objective. And we have reached a common understanding that implementing this goal will require decisive steps from both developed and developing countries. Action by all of us is imperative, although we will continue to be guided by the principle of common but differentiated responsibility. For the German government the fight against climate change has a very high priority. We have therefore noted with appreciation national contributions pledged since Copenhagen. This is, in particular, true for the pledges made by China, because they have been made on the basis of decisions already taken and thus binding for the Chinese authorities. We are confident that these pledges are a first important step ahead towards achieving our common goal. But we are convinced that the sum of all pledges made will not be sufficient in meeting our objective to undercut the 2 degree limit. For all of us, there is room and we therefore need to take additional steps forward. In Copenhagen, we have made great progress regarding the transparency, in particular how to measure, report and verify our respective national actions and climate strategies. Progress has also been made on the issue of international financing. So we feel encouraged to say: the glass is half full. In the next phase of our negotiations it will be important to safeguard this progress and to build on it. Our negotiations leading up to the next Conference of the Parties in Mexico must produce further substantive breakthroughs. The decisions of Cancun should integrate the main elements of the Copenhagen Accord, build on it and should lead us towards a global legally binding framework. Germany, Europe, China – we all have to contribute. And let me go even further: we should take a joint lead in steering this process, Europe being the champion among industrialized countries, and China having decided the most substantial policies among emerging economies. Together we can and should take the process forward and ensure that the important achievements of the Kyoto-Protocol are not lost on the way. Ladies and Gentlemen, from our own development in Europe we have learned that a low carbon economic development not only contributes to the protection of our natural environment, but is a key factor to qualitative economic growth, and thus a the key to sustainable development. We have to bring about fundamental changes in the way we live, produce, consume and organize our societies, if we want to ward off a dangerous change in climate. As one result of the recent global economic crisis we know that we cannot continue with strategies of growth as before, that we rather need new, socially and environmentally sound growth which is sustainable. We need a growth strategy linked to energy and resource- efficient technologies. I was impressed by the vision of the Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao who - in his report to the recent NPC - explained China's policy decision to establish a "low carbon economy" and to shift towards an environmental economy as a driving force in achieving a sustainable economic growth. China, it seems, has decided a remarkable change of parameters which we welcome. Energy and resource efficiency will be decisive factors for the competitiveness of a modern economy. Investments in energy efficiency and renewable energies will give us threefold profit: ● They will contribute to prevent the costs of climate change, ● they will lower the costs for energy supply in the future and ● they will make energy supply safer and avoid expensive imports. As we can see in China, a crisis can contribute to accelerate economic change and necessary structural reforms in industry offering opportunities for new and promising markets. Germany has gone through this experience during the past decades. And we have come out of it stronger than before. Future-oriented investments have resulted in targeted support for innovation and the development of new processes, technologies and products. We very much welcome China’s decision to invest in green technologies and to establish a circular economy. We are impressed by the rapid progress on electro mobility in China, as we follow with keen interest the progress made in installing wind and solar energy. As a report published by Pew Charitable Trust is indicating, China in 2009, for the first time, has taken the lead worldwide in investments into clean energies. In all of these areas, Germany and China have been working together closely and I see enormous opportunities for our bilateral cooperation. China as the worlds largest and fastest growing Co-2 emitter, has become a key player in global climate negotiations. We understand the need for long-term development processes in China, and let me emphasize: we support China's right to such further development. But we also trust that the Chinese government understands its responsibility to do its utmost to contribute to our common endeavour up to the very limits of its capabilities. Only our mutual maximum effort will ensure that we solve this global challenge successfully. The German government will continue to support China in its efforts, including through bilateral projects financed by the International Climate Initiative of the German Federal Ministry for the Environment. The economy of the future will be based on smart, clean, low carbon efficient technologies and infrastructures. The question is how fast and at what scale we will engage. Countries that take action quickly will benefit the most. I trust that our two countries will take a pivotal role in this process. I thank all those who have organized this conference and wish you best of success. Thank you for your attention.
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