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Klima-, energi- og bygningsminster Martin Lidegaards tale til Copenhagen Cleantech Clusters Open Smart Cities 2012 Conference d. 20. marts 2012.
Talen er på engelsk.
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Ladies and gentlemen.
What a great pleasure to be here among fellow cleantech enthusiasts.
For those of you who are from out of town - Welcome to Copenhagen.
Earlier today the mayor of this proud city talked about the tremendous effort to ensure a sustainable future.
No doubt urban centres are both strongly affected by climate change and also key contributors to global CO2-emissions.And consequently global efforts to address climate change can only be successful if they integrate cities and citizens.
I’m certainly happy that cities and governments are working together to pave a new green path away from fossil fuels.
It may come as a surprise to many, but on this day 24 years ago people were actually demonstrating on the city hall square because the national television network had decided to cancel the TV series Dynasty.
For those of you who are too young to remember, Dynasty was an extremely popular TV soap opera about the oil magnate Blake Carrington and his troubles − not with the climate − but with the ladies!
What a great piece of memorabilia of a time when oil was glamour and shine.
Today we know the other side of that coin: The risks to our economies and our future associated with fossil dependence and excess use of resources.
C40 – the 40 greatest cities of the world when it comes to population and GDP - have faced the music and entered into a fruitfull network.
They have realised that resources are limited and demand for them unlimited.
That’s exactly what I’ll be addressing today:
Why we need to change, how we’re gonna do it
and what we stand to gain.
We all need to change.
There can be no doubt about it.
Europe is in the middle of an economic and resource crisis of historic proportions.
Let me give you an example: The financial assistance package to Greece of 130 billion euro didn’t go quietly about. At the same time the European energy bill for imported oil has risen by more than 40 % in a year − costing us an extra 100 billion euros.
The question before us then is no longer the nature of the challenge.
The question is our capacity to meet it.
That’s why the Danish government has decided to fuel Denmark completely by green energy by 2050.
In 2020 we would like 50 % of the energy to come from wind power and the CO2-emission to be reduced by 40 percent.
I am very pleased that the latest IEA review is praising the Danish energy policy and our efforts to transform the energy sector out of fossils and into renewables.
And the quest continues.
The quest to find sustainable solutions to the challenges we face in the nexus of resource scarcity between energy, food production and water.
We are not suggesting going back to caves and campfires.
We’re merely pushing for a necessary change to ensure our future welfare and well-being.
And we are determined to do so in a cost efficient manner.
Frankly, I’m tired of the typical knee jerk reaction,
that it can’t be done. It has to be done.
Right now the government is negotiating its energy proposal to ensure broad political support for the most ambitious energy plan in the world. That’s stability in essence.
To be sure, no single sector affects more people and industries than energy.
That’s why it’s necessary to achieve a broad agreement.
The energy sector is made up of long term investment decisions and a lot of insecurity concerning prices and availability of fuels. If we can establish solid robustness and direction, all will be better off.
Enabling the green transition requires long term predictability and security for investment.
In Denmark we have a long history of detaching ourselves from fossil fuels.
Now, we’re taking it to the next level.
I guess you could argue that taxes and subsidies are relevant but not obvious tools to use in a time of crisis.
But in Denmark, it is part of the explanation that we are among the leading countries in terms of energy efficiency and are able to shoulder lower energy bills. So in this case, smart government equals smart cities.
The evidence suggests that in countries where tax differentials have been in place for some time, the overall fuel efficiency of the vehicle fleet is higher than in other countries and has improved more quickly over time.
But that’s not all we have in our toolbox.
We’re spending an extra 150 million euros in energy research.
And we support the EU’s research program Horizon 2020, which is expected to pump 600 billion into new research, including renewable energy technology, energy efficiency and smart grids.
But the governmental effort is by far enough.
We need citizens and businesses to work along with us.
The good news is that people in Denmark have already become greener.
A new survey shows that more and more people choose solar power instead of oil burners.
And we’re seeing new interesting business models emerging providing capital for the necessary investments in future renewable energy.
Take for instance the public-private partnership between Danish Pension Funds and Danish energy companies. Pension funds fuel energy companies investment in e.g. offshore wind by providing capital and at the same time ensuring a return for their members.
Or take LEGO and Oticon who recently followed suit and bought half of the capacity in an offshore wind farm currently being built off the German coast.
Governments are pushing ahead with greening their economies, businesses are responding by producing more low carbon goods and services.
As a result the green business sector is growing fast and emerging markets are leading the way.
Let me just give you a few examples:
From 2009 to 10 the investments in renewable energy grew a staggering 32 %.
And Bloomberg New Energy Finance expects a doubling of global investments in renewable energy projects within the next 8 years.
Today 1 million Europeans are employed in the green sector.
That’s a 25 % increase in just two years.
And according to the market research firm Pike Research $122 billion will be invested in energy-storage projects between 2011 and 2021.
Over the past 10 years Danish exports of green tech have increased much faster than exports of ordinary goods and now makes up 10% of Danish export.
The highest share in Europe!
Denmark was recently ranked number one in The Clean Tech Innovation Index for ensuring the best framework for clean tech businesses and for being forefront in creating innovation in green technology.
There is no doubt that the clean tech industry is an important engine for growth and job-creation.
Even the climate skeptics are for the most part beginning to realize that going green is not just a matter of saving the planet, it is simply a prerequisite for growth.
Fortunately most realize by now that we can’t just continue business as usual.
We can’t continue to feed the energy junkie with a fossil fix.
No, we simply have to do things differently and do it now.
As the great Vaclav Havel once said:
“It is not enough to stare up the steps, we must step up the stairs”.