Det danske formandskab satser på det grønne
Klima-, energi- og bygningsminister Martin Lidegaards tale til Handelsblatt Annual Energy Conference d. 18. januar 2012.
Talen er på engelsk.
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Doctor Oliver Bettzüge, Mr Daniel Goffart, Ladies and gentlemen.
It is a great honour and a pleasure to be here today.
Here in the heart of Europe.
This historic place has over the years experienced more frequent, radical change transforming the face of the city than any other capital in the world.
It is indeed a suitable location to talk about the great historic challenges we are facing right now.
The challenges of what some call the third industrial revolution.
The era of energy efficiency and renewable energy.
Right now we are in the middle of a threefold crisis.
A resource crisis.
A financial crisis
And a climate crisis.
Three crises that are deeply intertwined.
First: The global population hit 7 billion this fall.
At the same time we are using far more of our resources than the earth can replenish each year.
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, threatening to erode our economies.
Second: What started out as market turmoil,
has resulted in a severe crisis.
Just take the recent warning from OECD of a contagion rising and striking even the strongest European economies.
Third: The concentration of CO2 has grown by 40 % since pre-industrial times, while energy demand is going through the roof.
We are on a trajectory to a catastrophic 3.5 degree Celsius increase in global temperature.
And if we keep sitting on our hands, the increase will be an unthinkable 6 degrees, threatening to cause irreversible change to our climate.
But you know, they say, trouble is only opportunity in disguise.
Today I want to talk about how we can transform our challenges into potentials and pull ourselves back to prosperity.
I believe renewable energy and energy efficiency can provide a valuable contribution to that end.
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.
I hope you will agree with me that this is a development we need to encourage.
Surely, we can’t do it overnight.
The transition will require significant investments.
This is controversial in hard times, when focus is on earning a living and making ends meet.
But I firmly believe that every euro spent on energy efficiency and renewable energy is an investment in European employment and competitiveness.
And I know, that every euro spent on importing oil is money that leaves Europe.
As you know, right now we are not exactly in on a holiday spending spree.
So how do we create sustainable economic development with surplus value?
During the next six months the Danish EU-presidency will focus on three things.
First: The European Council has set a target to reduce energy consumption in the EU by 20% in 2020, using energy more efficiently and getting more out of less.
The vehicle is agreement on the Energy Efficiency Directive.
We know that energy efficiency can spare Europe for billions on imported energy.
We should grab this opportunity and invest in sustainable growth and jobs within the EU.
The Commission has estimated that implementation of the Energy Efficiency Directive will create up to 2 million jobs.
Some think that sustainability is just a fancy way of saying cost increase.
The reality is not quite so.
The Commission’s analysis has shown that the transition of the European energy system will boost the economy and the energy security.
It might be far more expensive not to do something, due to the risk of explosive increases in prices.
Some may feel uneasy about certain aspects of the energy efficiency proposal.
I fully understand the concerns and appreciate the fact the circumstances differ among industries and member states.
I believe that part of the solution lies in being a little more flexible in relation to the measures proposed in the directive.
But we can not afford to lower the ambition level.
The current gap to the 20%-target must be closed.
And we need the industry to help push this agenda across Europe.
It is your future that is at stake.
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.
But after that insecurity lurks.
That is why a decision on the framework for 2030 is urgently needed.
The energy sector is made up of concrete and hard steel.
Not feathers and tents, which are easily reorganised and moved overnight.
Enabling the transition to a sustainable and efficient energy future requires long term predictability and security for investment.
Milestones for our common energy future would be a useful indicator.
Finally: 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.
And it would surely benefit the economy, the climate, our energy supply and employment rates in Europe as well.
That is why the Danish Presidency will push the negotiations forward on the Energy Infrastructure proposal.
Investments are needed.
But they are a sort of an insurance premium that we pay to guard us from future challenges.
Think about it.
On the one hand we have increasing demand, falling reserves of traditional forms of fuel, price volatility and widespread fiscal constraint.
On the other hand we have to handle the increasing amount of fluctuating energy in our grids and be able to transport energy across European borders.
I believe a full and speedy implementation of a European internal energy market would result in lowering prices and bringing down the price of increasing volumes of renewable energy.
And it will enable the development of new energy clusters like the one we’re about to see in connection to Kriegers Flak in the Baltic Sea.
Energy clusters connecting cutting edge research, business opportunities and political will.
Germany has shown great leadership with your “Energiewende”.
If this is to be implemented in a cost effective manner,
it will not only require national effort, but concrete measures on a European level as well.
Now my question to you is this:
Why not simply cash in at the European level, asking other nations to step up to the plate and do their part?
We know where to go,
It is time to get moving.
As your great national poet Johann Wolfgang von Goethe wrote:
"Knowing is not enough; we must apply.
Willing is not enough; we must do."
Before I finish, let me say this:
It is our ambition, that Europe stands united, that we push the sustainable growth agenda forward and that we continue to lead by example.
Only then can we strive to solve the Gordic knot of the threefold crisis.