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Ladies and gentlemen
Let me join those who have complimented our Chinese hosts for an exceptional arrangement here inBeijing.
And let me compliment you, Mr Prime Minister, for your competent guidance of our deliberations.
In recent weeks the international financial crisis has dominated the global political agenda. Some have argued that the fundamentals of our global economy have been put into question. And that we no longer have the resources needed to tackle climate change.
In my opinion it is a wrong conclusion. I have three points:
Firstly, we have to handle the financial crisis and economic slowdown resolute and adequately. If we take the right decisions I feel confident, that we will overcome the present problems. The economies will continue to grow. And as the economies grow, so will the challenge from climate change.
Secondly, while handling the short term problems we should not loose sight of our long-term challenges. Climate change will remain a problem, and will only grow stronger, if we do not act now. Therefore we should act now and set an agenda of green growth.
Thirdly, there is no contradiction between economic growth and ambitious climate policies. On the contrary, the policies needed to address climate change are in fact also the very policies that can help to rebalance and revitalize our economies.
At the same time we will benefit from reduced dependency on high and fluctuating oil prices. A more diversified energy supply. That will stabilize our economies.
So: combating climate change is not part of the problem – it is part of the solution. A low carbon economy will generate growth and create jobs. With the right technology we can reduce CO2-emissions. And enhance our economic growth. At the same time.
The development of green technology is the answer. Energy efficient housing and industry. Wind energy, solar energy, biogas and waste incineration. Green cars. It will reduce our energy costs. It will make us less exposed to decision taken by oil suppliers. And thereby increase energy security.
Take China: Projections show that oil consumption of the Chinese car park will rise 3 times by 2030. This will increase oil imports to almost 300 billion euros at current prices. If China develops a green fleet – electric cars and hybrid cars – oil import can be reduced by some 80 %. Or 250 billion euros.
A euro saved is a euro gained. My point is: In total, new green energy policies does not impose a loss on us. On the contrary, it makes up a profit.
We are only approximately 400 days away from the Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen. The time has come for active leadership from Heads of States and Governments. In Europe and in Asia. We need to inject a sense of urgency and political priority to the ongoing UN-negotiations.
This Summit must send the clear message that Asia and Europe are willing to work for a positive result in December 2009.
We can afford to tackle climate change. It is good for our economy. It is good for our environment and climate. And it is good for our future generations.