Klima og energi rummer vækst og jobs
Klima-, energi- og bygningsminister Martin Lidegaards tale på ambassaden i Warszawa d. 13. februar 2012.
Talen er på engelsk.
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Ladies and gentlemen, I am grateful for this opportunity to speak about our best chance to grow our economies, create jobs and improve our competitiveness.
The Danish Presidency is painfully aware of the current economic circumstances in Europe – and the challenges we face.
We are in the middle of a double crisis:
A financial crisis and a resource and climate crisis.
Crises that are closely linked.
The global population hit 7 billion this autumn – and will continue to grow. We are already using more resources than the Earth can replenish.
Energy consumption is predicted to rise by one third during the next 25 years, while the extraction of oil from known fields is going the other way.
Energy prices may continue to rise and certainly will fluctuate more, eroding our economies, and hindering our growth.
And commodity prises in general have risen more over the past ten year than they fell during the entire 20th century.
Primarily due to the ever growing global middle class - a development trend that will not diminish in coming decades.
The concentration of CO2 has grown by 40 % since pre-industrial times.
We are on a trajectory to a catastrophic 3.5 degree Celsius increase in global temperature.
If we keep sitting on our hands that increase may very well rise to an unthinkable 6 degrees - threatening to cause lasting damage to the world as we know it.
At the same time, we are in the midst of a serious financial crisis in Europe. The OECD recently warned of a contagion rising and striking even the strongest European economies.
Ladies and gentlemen: Right now, we in Europe are tested on our ability to adapt of a world in rapid transition. We are tested on our commitment to change for a better tomorrow.
Today, I want to talk about how we can turn challenges into potential. How we can pull ourselves back to prosperity.
I will also touch on the important role of the EU in advancing the international climate negotiations.
I believe renewable energy and energy efficiency can provide a valuable contribution to the growth agenda in Europe.
If we look at the contribution renewable energy is already making to the global economy, we see how it sparks investments, how it delivers jobs, and how it creates growth. This is a development we need to encourage.
The transition will take time and significant investments up front.
But it is an opportunity that we cannot allow to pass up.
In tough economic times our immediate focus is on earning a living and making ends meet.
This is quite understandable.
But I firmly believe that every Euro we spend on energy efficiency and renewable energy is an real investment a prosperous future - in European jobs and competitiveness.
And we all know that every Euro we spend on importing oil and gas is a Euro that leaves Europe - money that could have and should have been spent on creating jobs, innovation and growth at home.
During the Danish Presidency of the Council of the European Union, I will focus on three things.
First: The European Council has set a target to reduce energy consumption in the EU by 20 percent in 2020. We are to use energy more efficiently – to get more out of less.
I will leave with you one figure:
Due to rising oil prices primarily, oil imports into the EU soared to 315 billion Euros in 2011.
Up by more than 40 percent from 2010 – or close to 100 billion Euro.
Money that could have been used to create growth and jobs in Europe.
Dear friends: It's high time that we green our growth - high time that we channel investment into our future in Europe – and not into oil producing countries outside of the EU.
A key vehicle for this essential transition is agreement on the Energy Efficiency Directive.
Not only can the EU achieve substantial energy savings.
Through energy efficiency, we can save billions on imported energy.
Energy savings can be a driver in Europe’s economic recovery.
The Commission has estimated that implementation of the Energy Efficiency Directive can create up to 2 million jobs. Most of which will be local jobs that cannot be outsourced.
Some may feel uneasy about certain aspects of the Commission’s proposal. I fully understand that.
I recognise that circumstances differ among Member States. In the current economic context, cost-effectiveness is a crucial precondition for policy-making.
But this does not mean that we should lower our common ambitions.
The current gap to the 20%-target must be closed. The measures contained in the Directive will have to reflect this – while catering for national circumstances, climatic or otherwise.
In line with the clear expectation of the European Council, early adoption of this important piece of legislation is a key priority for the Danish Presidency.
Second: We need reliable rules and regulation, not least to provide for a sound investment climate.
We have a clear framework for investments set out for the next eight years until 2020. But after that insecurity lurks.
The energy sector is made up of concrete and hard steel. Not feathers and tents that are easily reorganised and moved overnight.
Enabling the transition to a sustainable and efficient energy future requires long term predictability and security for investments.
The industry is asking us for predictability. We urgently need to set milestones for our common energy future and create a sound investment climate in the 2030 timeframe.
And we need to devote serious attention to Europe’s energy infrastructure.
In the next few years power generation facilities, transmission lines and storage facilities need to be renewed and expanded all over Europe.
No doubt making the transition now is the most cost-effective way of doing it.
That is why the Danish Presidency will work hard to advance negotiations on the Energy Infrastructure package.
Through infrastructure development we have to ensure free exchange of energy across our borders - not least to reap the economic benefits of a full and speedy implementation of the internal energy market - and to make sure that we can integrate new sources of energy in our system and diversify our energy portfolio in Europe.
Third: Thanks to good friends from the least developed countries, the AOSIS and other progressive developing countries, we managed to deliver the best achievable result in Durban.
The commitment to a global, legally binding climate agreement covering all countries is now locked in. It shall enter into force from 2020.
All parties now recognise the existence of a global ambition gap in the period up to 2020.
During the Polish Presidency Europe has taken a lead internationally by agreeing to engage in a second commitment period of the Kyoto-protocol – and pushed international partners to commit.
Internationally we are united. At home, we are less aligned.
Last year the European Commission published a roadmap that set out how a low-carbon future can be achieved.
Member states have agreed to decarbonise our economies by 80-95 percent in 2050.
In its roadmap, the Commission tells us that progress can be achieved cost-effectively in the short term with known technologies.
But the development of new green technologies is essential to meet future challenges.
We need to make an effort in all sectors – all over Europe.
We need to transition now, which is the most cost-effective way of doing it.
And we need to tell the industry where we aim to be in 2030 and 2040.
This will benefit not only the climate, but indeed also energy supply and employment rates in Europe.
Energy and climate are true European and global policy areas. We are interdependent – we rely on one another.
The tasks at hand are well defined.
We know where to go. It is time to get moving.
As the great Robert Schumann said:
"The European spirit signifies being conscious of belonging to a cultural family and to have a willingness to serve that community in the spirit of total mutuality, without any hidden motives of hegemony or the selfish exploitation of others."
It is the Danish Presidency’s clear ambition, that Europe stands united, that we push for a better and more prosperous future for Europe and that we together continue to lead by example.
Only then can we strive to solve the Gordic knot of challenges we face – be they economic, resource, energy or climate related.
Only then can we bring about the necessary bold change that is needed to create lasting growth and job security in Europe.