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Stavros Dimas

Member of the European Commission, Responsible for Environment

Combating Climate Change: Developing a Sustainable Energy Future

Dialogue on Climate Change, Clean Energy and Sustainable Development
London, 1 November 2005

The Gleneagles Declaration and Action Plan were important and timely achievements at the G8, for which the UK and PM Blair should be warmly congratulated.

The Dialogue on Climate Change, Clean Energy and Sustainable Development will allow us to take this process forward. In developing a sustainable energy future we face many challenges. To name only three: we must provide better access to energy for the poor, ensure energy security and address the serious problem of climate change. The Dialogue is an excellent opportunity to exchange views and share best practices that will enable us to advance the clean energy agenda.

The IEA has estimated that the collective investment into the global energy sector in the next 25 years will amount to 16 trillion dollars. As policy-makers we have an interest in creating a stable and predictable regulatory framework and the right conditions that would channel investment into sustainable low-carbon solutions.

Investment in clean energy will have a significant impact on the trends in greenhouse gas emissions in the second half of the century. At the same time, however, we will need to step up our efforts on international co-operation to reduce emissions. In Montreal in December we will have the opportunity to start a process leading to negotiations on a post-2012 international climate change regime.

In the next round of climate negotiations we should also try and address a number of practical issues that have arisen in the application of the Kyoto Protocol. Take for instance the Clean Development Mechanism, a key market-based instrument under the Protocol intended to encourage the uptake of low-carbon technologies in developing countries. At present, however, bottlenecks in the administration of CDM and the development of methodologies are limiting the number of projects. These constraints must be addressed in a constructive and pragmatic manner so that the CDM can realise its full potential.

In implementing the Kyoto Protocol, the EU emission trading system, in operation since the beginning of this year, is using market incentives to foster the necessary transformation process. The carbon emissions market is developing rapidly, and businesses are integrating climate change in their decisions. We are seeing already the first signs of changed investment behaviour. Just to give one example: several European companies have now concrete plans for a zero-emission power plant on the drawing board.

The EU is keen to share our experience with emissions trading with all Dialogue countries.

To conclude, there are many areas in which we can strengthen our co-operation already today, such as exploring new financial arrangements between the private and the public sector, developing the right policy framework for energy investments and intensifying technology co-operation.

The Dialogue is a very good platform for discussing energy and climate change, as it brings together developed as well as developing countries, producers as well as consumers of energy. Looking ahead, I therefore believe that we should continue this Dialogue in the future.

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