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Your Royal Highness, Excellencies, Distinguished Ministers, Ladies and Gentlemen,
The Global Green Growth Forum seeks to develop new ways of making progress on some of the most critical challenges facing our world today. I am proud that Denmark is hosting this important event.
Eight days ago, my government assumed office. We have put green growth at the very top of our priorities. But we also know that our current path will not take us there. We need change. We need innovation. We need renewed cooperation, across nations and across public and private sectors.
That is why Denmark has launched this forum. It is my ambition that 3GF will become an important part of a new international architecture to address what the UN Secretary General rightly has called the imperative of the 21st century: Ensuring sustainable development.
We must save our planet in the face of scarce resources. We must lift people out of poverty. We must advance economic growth.
I would like to thank each and every one of you for attending this meeting. I would also like to warmly thank our partners in this initiative. 3GF is a truly joint effort with the Governments of Mexico and Korea as well as important actors from the private sector, international organizations and elsewhere.
Thanks to all of you for this partnership.
To effectively drive the green revolution – and I call it a green revolution - we need to make progress in three areas:
Firstly, the green transition requires international leadership:
The United Nations must be the overarching framework for our efforts. Achieving progress in the global negotiations, particularly on a climate change deal, will be an important priority of this government as well.
We will work for a successful outcome at the COP17 later this year. And of course we will work for an ambitious outcome in Rio next summer. And the green agenda will of course also be a priority when Denmark takes over the EU Presidency next year.
Secondly, each nation has a responsibility to move the green transition forward at home:
This country, Denmark, has a long-standing tradition in energy efficiency and green solutions. My government will raise the bar even further. We will set the ambitious goal that our entire electricity and heat supply must come from sustainable energy in 2035.
Setting this clear and long-term target is a crucial precondition for action.
Because long-term targets tell our power plants that they can safely focus on green energy. Because long-term targets tell the director of a wind turbine company that it is safe to invest in new markets. And because long-term targets tell families that it is worth their while to buy energy-saving windows or an electric car.
But we also need to understand that the green development will not come by itself. Let me be extremely clear about this: We must be prepared to make tough decisions. This is not a simple win-win proposition. Some parts of our society will be affected negatively by the steps we need to take to reach these objectives. We need to make this very clear.
A green development requires substantial investments in tomorrow’s green technologies and solutions – this will not be without costs in the short run. But I firmly believe that in the long run inaction will be even more costly to all of us. So no action will cost us.
Thirdly, governments need to drive the green transition in much closer partnership with the private sector:
We have heard the green words before. The task now is to translate green words into green action.
We need to work with our industries and businesses to find smart solutions, develop intelligent regulatory frameworks and set priorities in research and development.
In short, close public-private partnership is critical to achieving our goals. Let me provide a few examples:
In Denmark we have a test centre for wind turbines in Østerild. This is a case where the government, in cooperation with the wind turbine industry and the research community, has actually created a world-class test center. We need more of that.
Another example is a new alliance between Danish Pension Funds and Danish energy companies which provides capital for the necessary investments in future renewable energy. This has helped create an off-shore wind farm that covers 400.000 households’ consumption of electricity. Another good example of private-public partnership.
And on a Danish island in the Baltic Sea – Bornholm – a full scale project is being developed to establish a smart grid, building on renewables. Through this project, more than 50 percent of the power system is covered by renewables. That is surely the way forward!
But we also need to be active abroad. And this country, Denmark, is active abroad. In Malaysia, Clean Development Mechanism-programmes have helped initiate more than 30 biogas-projects in less than 6 years. And in Bangladesh, the World Bank, local entrepreneurs and the Danish Government have helped establish new energy efficient brick producing factories – a project that both helps reduce emissions and sets new standards for working conditions, health and safety.
All over the world the key to green growth lies in cooperation and innovative thinking.
To truly realize the potential for green growth, we must make these partnerships beyond individual countries and beyond regions. There are plenty of businesses, investors, innovators and researchers around the world ready to be part of the green transition. But what we need to do is to bring them together around the same table, along with the regulators and decision-makers.
The Global Green Growth Forum offers just that: A platform for developing such international public-partnerships. We want to promote a frank and confidential dialogue between business leaders, investors and policy makers on green growth and on everything that this entails.
I challenge you to spend these two days finding concrete answers and solutions to the problems and barriers to progress in our field. My pledge to you is that the Danish Government, along with our partners, will work tirelessly to ensure that the ideas and recommendations from 3GF are carried forward: in the United Nations, in the G20 and elsewhere.
And also we know that we’ll meet again. And we even know where and when. I am happy to announce that the next Global Green Growth Forum will take place the same time next year.
I wish you all a fruitful and productive conversation over the coming days!