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Your Royal Highnesses, Your Excellences, ladies and gentlemen,
Something is stirring in Copenhagen these days.
- A bright green flame of hope has been lid by citizens, activists and NGOs.
- Bright green solutions are on display here today.
- Negotiators at the Bella Center are working tirelessly to secure a bright green future.
- And in the coming days more than 110 Heads of State and Government are coming here to negotiate. They come, because they too know and feel that Copenhagen is the place to be – and the place to act.
And make no mistake. Climate change is a reality. The Crown Princes and Crown Princess have just enlightened us about their experiences in Greenland. Their story strongly confirms that climate change is already taking place. It is taking place everywhere - not just where ice is visibly melting or sea levels visibly rising.
The challenge before us is clear. It is tangible. It is visible. And it is a global challenge!
We have faced global threats and challenges before. We have dealt with them. We have overcome them.
The good news is: We know what the problem is. We know what we need to do. And we have a clear answer.
The answer is green. “Bright green”. The world will have to realize that economic growth can go hand in hand with combating climate change.
I cannot emphasize enough: There is no direct link between economic growth and the emission of green house gases. Denmark is one of many fine examples of that point. Our economy has grown and will continue to grow while we continue to reduce our emissions. Since 1980 Denmark has experienced growth at 78 percent, and still our energy consumption has remained stable.
That has not become our situation by chance, magic or cheating. It has become our situation – and blessing – through hard work, tough decisions and firm leadership.
I will not underestimate the magnitude of the task ahead of all of us. Developing countries must grow less carbon intensive, and industrialised countries must cut emissions by at least 80 % by 2050. That is drastic. And that will require careful planning. It is, however, definitely possible without sacrificing prosperity. Denmark is living proof of that.
Green tech has become one of the main assets for Danish exports. And it is a growing sector.
In 2005 it was estimated that the world market for green technology was 1,000 billion Euros. In 2010 it is estimated at 1,500 billion. That is a growth rate of 50 percent in just five years. In the last two years, the solar energy industry has doubled worldwide.
As it turns out economic downturn has proven not to be a stumbling block – but rather a kick starter. Or in the words of India’s first Prime Minister Nehru: "Crises and deadlocks, when they occur, have at least this advantage: that they force us to think."
The potential of green growth is now increasingly being grasped
around the world. And the opportunities are being pursued with great fervour.
Billions of public funds throughout the world have been invested in making economic recovery a green recovery. The effects have been significant. And the private sector has been quick to respond.
In September, the Crown Prince and I had the pleasure of opening the largest off shore windfarm in the world. 91 turbines at sea will produce enough electricity to supply 200.000 households. It was an impressive sight, but more importantly, it was a promising sight. The real promise lies within the fact that soon the windfarm we opened will be competing against even larger farms elsewhere in Europe.
That is the kind of competition, progress and spread of technology that we need. It remains to be seen, how far we have come by the year 2050. I certainly hope that the green tech sector will be as innovative as the information technology sector has been to date. And hope – as we say here in Denmark – is bright green.
We have to change – that is the message from science.
We can change – that is the message from technology and the message from this conference today.
In less than a week, I believe we will achieve global agreement on climate change. An agreement that will ensure actions on mitigation and adaptation. An agreement that will set the course for an ambitious approach to our joint efforts in combating climate change.
A global agreement will be the strongest possible platform for business to operate on long term. And it will be the strongest possible platform from which to initiate major innovative efforts. The green tech market is here to stay. Not only that, the potential is growing. I encourage you all to take advantage of it. Today’s innovative industries are tomorrow’s winners.
As I speak to you this morning decision makers from all over the world are travelling to Copenhagen to participate in the concluding days of the COP15 conference.
Their presence reflects an unprecedented mobilization of political determination to combat climate change. It represents a huge opportunity. An opportunity the world cannot afford to miss.
The deal, that we invite leaders to sign up on, will be one that affects all aspects of society – just as the changing climate does.
Over the course of the next decades, our societies will transform dramatically. In that transformation, business is a core driver. Bright Green makes me even more optimistic about the prospects.
And the message I take from Bright Green to the negotiators at the Bella Centre is clear and in itself a part of the solution: Business is no excuse for failing to seal the deal in Copenhagen.
If need be, I will tell everyone at the climate conference: Solutions exist. Go. See for yourself at the Bright Green exhibition where you will find 180 exhibitors from all over the world, who not only believe – but can actually show you – going green is just good business.
Thank you for you participation. Thank you for allowing me to speak here today. Good luck – and may you futures be bright and green!