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The climate in the middle of a crisis - COP15 United Nations ...

http://en.cop15.dk/about+cop15/information+for/delegates/s...

The climate in the middle of a crisis The financial crisis is starting to hurt. Some people are saying that our ambitions for the climate agreement in Copenhagen should be scaled down. But this is an entirely wrong. By Connie Hedegaard, Minister for Climate and Energy, Conservative Party

Climate and energy policy are not part of the problem, but rather part of the solution. In 2050 there will be nine billion of us. The winners of the future will be the countries which improve energy efficiency and expand renewable energy production. Climate and energy issues are no luxury we can ignore until the economy recovers. These are not the first sandbags to be dropped when the economic balloon starts losing height. The truth is that clean energy technology and efficient energy use are cornerstones in managing the challenges of the future. Not just for the sake of the climate, but also for growth, jobs and security of supply. The financial crisis has exacerbated fears that production will move to countries with less exacting requirements on greenhouse gas emissions, with a consequential loss of European jobs. However, there are many ways to lose jobs, and one thing is certain: Europe will lose jobs unless we become better at developing and using energyefficient solutions and green technologies. Even if we ignore all the other problems arising from global warming, demand for energy-efficient technologies will grow significantly in the future. According to the UN, by 2050 the globe will have to sustain nine billion people, compared with today’s 6.7 billion. In 2050 eight billion people will live in countries we currently refer to as developing countries, and all these people will naturally be looking for the energy-consuming luxuries we enjoy today in our part of the world. They will also demand food, heating, air-conditioning, transport and other comforts for their children; just as we demand them for ours. In its latest annual report, the International Energy Agency estimates that as much as 62 per cent of the increase in energy consumption up to 2030 will come from developing countries. In India, despite explosive growth rates, there are still some 500 million people without electricity. In the Chinese capital of Beijing, 1,000 new cars roll out from the factories and onto the roads every day. There is little doubt that both energy needs and oil prices will remain at a very high level in the future, despite the current drops due to the financial crisis. But there is nothing wrong in spending money carefully. In the Washington Post recently, former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and Ronald Reagan’s chief economic advisor, Harvard Professor Martin Feldstein, estimated that this year alone will see transfers to the 13 OPEC countries of USD 1,000 billion in payments for oil. According to Kissinger and Feldstein, oil price increases since 2001 have given rise to the largest redistribution of wealth in world history – and to countries which do not all lead the democratic league tables. So, financial crisis or not, in the long term energy efficiency is no political luxury. On the contrary, it is a precondition for growth, to be addressed by every country, every economy and every company. The winners will be those who are the first to become energy efficient and develop energy-smart products. It is very telling that the three large US car manufacturers, General Motors, Chrysler and Ford, are all suffering because of the high oil prices, while fuel-economical Asian brands continue to win market share in the US. In part of the US financial aid package, more than USD 4.5 billion has been earmarked for the hard-pressed American motor industry because the industry has been too slow to adapt. Perhaps the forthcoming American Government will seek to avoid having to dig into its purse once again because of a lack of diligence. A little conservative common sense can argue that in times of economic crisis it is advisable to limit energy consumption. This doesn’t mean that the whole family must make do with one cold shower a week; rather it means using the common resources we have with a little care. Phenomenal amounts of energy are still being consumed uselessly. Denmark has benefited from common-sense energy policy. Since 1981 we have seen economic growth totaling 75 percent, while energy consumption has remained almost stable. Denmark has invested in energy-efficient solutions and in renewable energy. At the same time, through the tax system we have made it more attractive to focus on alternative and more efficient solutions. The incentives structure has proved successful and in fact it has not harmed Danish competitiveness. On the contrary, Denmark is experiencing historically low unemployment of just 1.6 percent; the Danish investment climate is one of the best in the world; and energy-correct and environmentally friendly technology is one of the fastest growing export sectors in

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The climate in the middle of a crisis - COP15 United Nations ...

http://en.cop15.dk/about+cop15/information+for/delegates/s...

Denmark. Of course we must add to this the consequences of climate change in a world where last year saw global CO2 emissions grow by more than three percent. Projections from climate researchers can no longer keep up, and neither can nature. We are seeing temperature rises, more frequent and more violent weather incidents, damage to buildings and infrastructure, flooding and drought. All consequence of our behavior which will hit hardest in developing countries and provide a feeding ground for local conflicts, increased numbers of refugees, and ultimately greater pressure on European borders. Climate policy is also security policy. A long-term solution to the current financial crisis must incorporate climate challenges. It is encouraging that, despite heated debate, heads of state and government at the EU summit this week could agree on maintaining objectives already set. The climate challenge is part of the solution, not part of the problem. Now it is up to the EU to deliver and to reach an agreement on reductions burden sharing before the end of this year. Without this, it will only be more difficult to achieve an ambitious international agreement in Copenhagen in December 2009. The world has never needed this agreement more than it does now. Source: Ministry of Climate and Energy

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The climate in the middle of a crisis - COP15 United Nations Climate Change Conference Copenhagen 20