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SPEECH/ 09/587

José Manuel Dur ã o Barroso

P resident of the European Commission

S tatement of President Barroso to the Plenary of the Copenhagen conference on climate change

Figures and graphics available in PDF and WORD PROCESSED

COP 15

Copenhagen, 18 December 2009

President, Excellencies, Ladies and gentlemen,

We have seen momentous events in Copenhagen this week: huge numbers of people coming out, demonstrating in favour of action against climate change, and more than 130 leaders at Head of State or government level, and an unprecedented number coming from around the world to be ready for decision at the highest political level, and tough, very tough negotiations, the toughest we can remember.

In the European Union we have no objection to hard negotiations on difficult issues, in order to continue to lead the world on legally binding emissions targets and climate finance for the poorest people on the planet; we have come here to fight for an ambitious outcome. But these negotiations are special; in a sense we should not be seen making the traditional diplomatic negotiations but fighting for the same common good: life on our planet, life for future generations. And indeed these negotiations are a test for global responsibility and global solidarity.

Ladies and gentlemen, it is now obvious that we will not get all we had hoped for. But what remains on our side here in Copenhagen is a critically important milestone in the battle against climate change. We are making progress on transparency and internationalisation of domestic action. More importantly, our own binding offer has triggered a long list of strong new initial and reduction commitments from developed and developing countries which will, if we get a deal, be subject to both robust monitoring and review. Indeed, the European Union remains ready and willing to move from a binding 20% reduction to 30% from 1990 to 2020 if others are also ready to move on ambitious deals.

And equally important because this is fundamentally a development issue as well as a climate and environmental issue, we are taking two very important steps here in Copenhagen; first we have secured a fast start funding programme for the next 3 years worth at least 30 billion dollars to fund adaptation, capacity building and the fight against deforestation particularly in the poorest and most vulnerable countries. We also have a clear long-term climate funding objective providing 100 billion dollars a year by 2020 to meet the initial needs of developing countries.

I think, and during the debate we had, I've always said it, it is less expensive to protect the planet now than to repair it later. But as we prepare for this Copenhagen outcome we must learn the lessons of this process, it is also important to look forward, not just to Mexico City next year, but beyond that, to further step up our collaborative action against climate change and adapting to the inevitable adverse facts. For we have no alternative but to work closely together to meet this challenge. It becomes ever more apparent that a low -carbon economy is becoming ever more important and is one of the best ways to secure jobs and prosperity for our citizens and future generations.

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