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José Manuel Durão Barroso
President of the European Commission
Speech by President Barroso at the Climate Summit 2014
National Action and Ambition Announcements plenary
United Nations, New York, 23 September 2014
Thank you, Secretary-General. I would like to start by paying tribute to you for your timely initiative to gather us here today so that we can give a decisive push to global climate action.
Your Excellencies, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen!
Climate change is one of the defining threats of our times. It is indeed a generational challenge to which we must all rise. It disrupts societies and economies, undermines development and destroys our global commons.
At the same time, climate change also presents an opportunity to reinvent our economies, a chance to reinvent our economies in a cleaner, leaner, greener and more efficient way.
But we, the international community, can only grasp this opportunity and defend our shared planet if we show courage, vision and determination.
The European Union has been and remains at the forefront of efforts to address climate change.
In 2005, we created the world's first and largest carbon market with the EU Emissions Trading System. In 2008, we set the most ambitious targets for domestic emissions reductions, renewable energy and energy savings under our 2020 framework.
This ambition is paying off. The EU is on track to meet our targets. At the same time, we have seen our economy grow. Since 1990, Europe's greenhouse gas emissions have fallen by 19%, while our GDP rose by 45%. So we prove that climate protection and a strong economy can – and must – go hand-in-hand.
But, our ambition does not stop here. We look forward to finalising a new global climate agreement in Paris next year. This must involve all Parties in a comprehensive framework to reduce emissions – reflecting science but also today's political and economic realities.
In the critical run-up to Paris, the European Union is leading by example. The European Commission has proposed an ambitious reduction target of 40% of domestic emissions by 2030, compared to 1990 levels, plus a renewables target of at least 27% and energy savings of 30%.
I am confident that EU leaders will seal this deal at their summit in October. These targets are milestones on the way to our broader objective of cutting emissions by 80% - 95% by 2050, In effect, we are in the process of de-carbonizing Europe's economy.
So, the EU will be ready. And, we urge those countries with the greatest responsibilities and capabilities to table their contributions by March 2015 at latest, as agreed.
In line with our ambition, we are also "mainstreaming" climate action into all our policies. Our agreed aim is to spend 20% of our overall 2014-2020 EU budget on climate action. This will amount to €180 billion spent inside and outside the EU by 2020.
Support to the most vulnerable parts of the global community is critical in this regard. That is why today, I can specifically announce that over the next 7 years, the EU aims to allocate more than €3 billion in grants to support sustainable energy in developing countries.
This will leverage between €15 and €30 billion in loans and equity investment, to plug gaps in energy infrastructure and businesses, to power schools, homes and hospitals in a sustainable manner.
In total, the EU will provide €14 billion of public climate finance to partners outside the EU over the next seven years. This is all grant funding. And €2 billion of these climate grants will be blended with other sources, leveraging up to €50 billion of total private investment by 2020.
Tackling climate change is not the sole responsibility of governments. It will only succeed in a true coalition of all stakeholders, business leaders, financial institutions, and civil society.
It is essential that we already raise the ambition of pre-2020 emission cuts, and that we make significant progress at the upcoming climate conference in Lima.
I would therefore urge the Secretary-General to continue engaging with leaders and coalitions here, and to follow up on the political momentum and announcements made by leaders today. In this, you will have a strong ally in the European Union.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change tells us that achieving the below-2 degree target is still possible - but only just. Only if we get serious. This will be a test of our ability to lead, act, and deliver. It is a test we cannot afford to fail.