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Stavros DIMAS

Member of the European Commission, responsible for environment

An ambitious Copenhagen agreement is not a choice, it is a must

High Level Segment of the Fourteenth Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Fourth Session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol
Poznan, 11 December 2008

Mr President, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen

I would like to thank the Polish government for hosting this Conference.

The year of negotiations ahead of us on the road to Copenhagen will be critical for our planet.

The EU is ready to play its full part. We have put our bold commitments on the table. As we speak, EU Heads of State and government are finalising their discussions on measures to implement these commitments. We are on track to become a low carbon economy while strengthening our competitiveness and energy security.

We often hear that the financial and economic crisis will limit our ability to act. This is simply not true. The European Commission recently put forward its European Economic Recovery plan which focuses on green innovation. The EU is determined to seize this crisis as an opportunity to bring our economy out of recession and put it on track for a low carbon future.

I'm very encouraged by the message of change by President elect Obama. We should all welcome an ambitious US seeking to provide international leadership on this crucial challenge. We are looking forward to engaging as soon as possible with the new US Administration.

We all agreed in Bali that climate change can only be addressed through global action. First and foremost, the developed countries should, as a group, reduce their emissions by 30% by the year 2020. This is what is needed, and this is what the European Union is committed to achieving if our partners in the developed world do likewise.

I am also encouraged by the climate change strategies proposed or being prepared by a number of developing countries. We want to cooperate with these countries to strengthen the ambition of these strategies and support their swift and effective implementation so that they will be able to reduce their GHG emissions by 15 to 30 % below business as usual levels.

But let me make it clear that we are not asking developing countries to set a target similar to developed countries. Instead, we are offering our cooperation to achieve the necessary action in a manner that will strengthen their economic growth, energy security and, more generally, their sustainable development in the short and longer term.

Mr President, we have one year of negotiations left. The message that we Ministers must give here in Poznan is one of opportunities, ambition and, above all, determination. An ambitious Copenhagen agreement is not a choice, it is a must.

Thank you.

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