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José Manuel Durão Barroso
President of the European Commission
Statement by President Barroso at the joint press conference on climate and energy with United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and World Bank President Jim Yong Kim
Davos, 23 January 2014
Mr Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon,
President Kim of the World Bank,
Ladies and gentlemen,
First of all, Secretary-General, thank you so much for your kind words of support, that are, for us, a great encouragement.
Indeed, the European Union continues to be a pioneer for global climate action.
As you know, we are already committed to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions by 80-95% below 1990 levels by 2050.
We have adopted the world's most ambitious and binding goals for 2020 – and we are on track to meet them.
And just yesterday, 22 January, the European Commission proposed an ambitious EU climate and energy package for 2030.
With a binding 40% CO2 reduction target to be reached by 2030, and a special EU target of at least 27% for renewable energy, it is clear that Europe will continue to lead and contribute its fair share to global climate action, this defining challenge of our time.
This high level of ambition and leadership, we must recognise, is in our own economic interest. We are spending too much on importing costly fossil fuels from abroad – around €1 billion a day.
This package will also increase the competitiveness of European industry, boost innovation and demand, create jobs, attract investment and increase energy security.
Let me say that I also understand the concerns of all of those around the world that fear that such an accent on climate may have problems for growth. I know the concerns of some emerging economies, and also developed economies, that are now a little bit more reluctant to go ahead because of the impact of the economic crisis.
But let me tell them that there is no contradiction between growth and ambition on climate change.
The EU has already proved that reducing emissions can go hand in hand with economic growth. In the last 22 years, after 1990, our emissions have gone down by 18%, while GDP has risen by 45%. So I think there cannot be a better demonstration of this compatibility with growth.
This is a powerful signal to the rest of the world and shows that we are beyond the debate where you had to either be "green" or a defender of industry. So I call on all our partners globally - on developed countries, emerging economies, the developed world, and especially on big emitters - to come with us and to respond to the clear appeal of Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
One of the reasons we have presented these proposals just yesterday is precisely to help the international global debate.
In 2015, France will host the key UN climate conference in Paris (COP-21). Already this September, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will host a leaders' summit in New York, which I will attend. I applaud his leadership on the climate cause and, I can tell you, I know President Kim of the World Bank is a very strong ally. I thank him as well.
This summit in New York will be a further stepping stone towards an ambitious, binding global climate agreement in 2015 - an agreement that, we hope, will cover all emitters. The EU will make its first contributions to this in spring 2015, as foreseen, and I sincerely hope that our global partners will be with us in an equally ambitious and determined manner.
Addressing climate change is not simply an option, it is a must! And it is in the interests of everyone - environmentally, economically and politically.
Thank you for your attention.