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SPEECH/ 09/549

José Manuel Dur ã o Barroso

P resident of the European Commission

Statement of President Barroso following the meeting with Business Leaders on Climate Change.

Figures and graphics available in PDF and WORD PROCESSED


VIP Corner

Brussels, 20 November 2009

Ladies and gentlemen,

I am delighted to meet today with so many top business leaders. Leaders that have shown responsibility and that I consider enlightened leaders for the economy of the future. They are an essential element on climate change and I would like to pay tribute to the work they are doing and the support they are giving the process.

They have sent me today a strong signal that business needs an ambitious climate deal in Copenhagen. They rightly point to the economic case for action and the business opportunity that Europe should grasp.

Greener growth is not just a dream. In Europe, investments in renewables could generate 90 billion euros, create some 700 000 new jobs and reduce the oil import bill by 45 billion a year by 2020.

Copenhagen must be a springboard for a new treaty and not a staging post. That's why I want to see a meaningful agreement coming out of Copenhagen.

It must be based on science and enshrine the 2°C objective with real, economy wide mid-term emission reduction targets for developed countries and substantive actions from developing countries on mitigation.

We know now that in Copenhagen, unfortunately, we won't be able to get a new binding full Treaty, but we are working hard towards an operational agreement, based on real political commitments on all sides, to which all the major players contribute and should endorse at the highest political level. This should then be turned into a fully-fledged treaty as soon as possible. I believe this is possible. We can do it if we want to do it. We can have this operational agreement and afterwards to translate it in a new treaty.

I am looking for a simple, understandable and clear text that is binding on all countries while reflecting our common but differentiated responsibilities. We are looking to keep the essentials of Kyoto while bringing those large polluting countries that did not sign or ratify it so far, or had no specific commitments into the deal. The Copenhagen agreement should include specific, individual numbers on reduction of emissions, and a detailed finance package to help developing countries both to develop mitigation programmes and to adapt to climate change. In particular, fast start funding is going to be very important. The agreement reached in Copenhagen must also contain upfront actions that will come quickly into operation. Some of these actions do not need to wait for the treaty. We can do it now because climate change is happening now. Very often when we speak about objectives for 2020 or 2050, some people tend to forget that climate change is not going to start then but that we are already feeling the consequences of climate change. And in some areas of the world in a real dramatic way.

We have also during this very useful and constructive meeting, and I really want to thank them for their contributions because these business leaders not only gave their real opinion but they told me about what they are doing concretely in their companies and their programmes. We have also looked beyond Copenhagen. I welcome the business leaders' support for my proposal of a specific Commissioner for climate action. We have to maintain the momentum towards a low emissions economy, in particular decarbonising our electricity supply and our transport sector. We need a new greener economy with a clear 2050 vision. Apart from Copenhagen there is also a lot of things we can and should do in the reform of our economies. And that is a major point for the next five years for the Commission and I am sure for the European Union.


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