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Connie Hedegaard

European Commissioner for Climate Action

Speaking points at the launch of Carbon Disclosure Project 2010 Europe 300 Report

Figures and graphics available in PDF and WORD PROCESSED

Launch of Carbon Disclosure Project 2010 Europe 300 Report event

Brussels, 9 November 2010

Good afternoon and thank you for this invitation. I'm very glad to be able to join you for the launch of this year's Europe 300 report – and extra pleased as I today also can announce a major initiative on low carbon technologies – I will come back to that at the end of my intervention.

CDP's 2010 Europe 300 report shows European companies are continuing to lead the world in carbon disclosure and climate change strategy. I firmly believe this encouraging trend is due in large part to the proactive policy approach taken by the European Union. The average disclosure rate for the Europe 300 has increased to 84% compared to the 2009 report, and the average disclosure score has risen from 60 to 68.

I very much welcome the introduction this year, in addition to the disclosure score, of a performance score which rewards both the integration of climate change into business strategies and evidence of forward action. And I am glad, though not surprised, to see that the leaders in disclosure are, as a rule, also the leaders in performance.

Let me take this opportunity to congratulate Siemens for achieving the highest carbon disclosure score this year – 98- and for being ranked in the top performance level as well. According to the report, products and solutions installed by Siemens last year alone are cutting its customers' CO2 emissions by some 50 million tonnes annually. That is the kind of examples we need!

Two aspects of this year's results strike me as disappointing, however. First of all, the response rate in a number of EU member states is well below the Europe 300 average, and as low as 30% in some countries. I would like to see that rate rise fast over the next few years.

Secondly, it is a source of concern that companies in the EU ETS seem to be understating the reductions they will need to make by 2020. Of course, the ETS emissions cap we have set for 2020 - which is 21% below the 2005 level - ensures that overall emissions will indeed be reduced by this amount. But companies would do well to be realistic now about what this will mean for them individually. Otherwise they risk having to make unexpectedly deep emission cuts - or unexpectedly large purchases of allowances – at some point in the future.

Europe took the lead in setting our 2020 targets back in 2007. But in the meantime China, India, Korea, Brazil and others have also recognised the huge opportunities that the low-carbon economy promises in terms of creating new sources of growth and jobs. In other words, Europe's leadership is being challenged. This means we have to do more to drive innovation in clean technologies if we are to stay at the forefront of the low-carbon revolution.

This will require a continued strong push from the policy side. That is one reason why the European Commission has put decarbonising the economy at the heart of our vision for Europe's development up to 2020 and beyond. For 2020 we need to think about whether it is not in our own interest to scale up our emission reduction target from 20% to 30%. Cutting too far and too fast can kill jobs, it's true, but Europe also risks losing jobs if we are not innovative enough, if we are dragging our feet – when our competitors are starting to run really fast.

Looking beyond 2020, the EU's long-term goal is to cut emissions to 80-95% below 1990 levels by 2050. This process of 'decarbonising' the economy will eventually affect all companies across all sectors. Sooner or later they will need to measure, manage and reduce their emissions. Joining the Carbon Disclosure Project would be a way to prepare themselves for this transition - and maximise their chances of benefiting from it.

The European Commission plans to publish a roadmap for reaching our 2050 targets next spring – including a target for 2030.

To achieve ambitious targets requires policy: standards, regulations, incentives AND concerted efforts e.g. in the field of Research & Demonstration.

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Ladies and gentlemen,

Today the Commission lanches a major new initiative which is referred to as the "NER300" programme. This is not the name of a robot or a vacuumcleaner but the world's largest low-carbon technology demonstration programme.

It will be funded by the sale of 300 million emissions allowances from the "New Entrant Reserve" of the European emissions trading system – therefore the name. At current carbon prices, it will provide around €4.5 billion of funding and leverage a similar amount from industry and Member States.

This first call covers 200 million of the 300 million allowances available. The Commission intends to fund 34 innovative renewables demonstration projects and 8 carbon capture and storage projects (CCS). Among the technologies enabled by this initiative are:

  • Floating or very large-scale offshore deployment for wind, high efficiency photovoltaics and innovative concentrated solar power;

  • Next-generation bioenergy, with source material ranging from household waste to algae;

  • Smart grid solutions and innovative forms of geothermal, marine and wave power are also covered.

For CCS, the areas covered include all the major power generation technologies, but also applications for industry.

I am grateful that the European Investment Bank is lending its technical and financial expertise to us to support the implementation of the programme.

Europe has the know-how, the ability and the ambition to lead the world in developing the technologies required to tackle climate change. With today's call for proposal we invite entrepreneurs across the continent keen to contribute to and profit from the low carbon economy to put forward projects demonstrating promising innovative technologies at large-scale.

These and other green technologies will increasingly be an important source of future economic growth and jobs. They will also help us meet our ambitious climate targets for 2020 and beyond.

Thank you

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