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European Commission - Speech - [Check Against Delivery]

Jean-Claude Juncker at the COP21 Leaders Event - A climate agreement here and now in Paris

Paris, 30 November 2015

Mr President, Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Let me start by once again expressing my deep solidarity with the people of Paris and of France. I would like to pay tribute to the way they have faced up to the recent atrocities both as individuals and as a society.

I am thinking in particular of the Parisian who, in the depths of grief, offered the following defiant response to the terrorists responsible for the death of his wife and mother of his child: ‘We are going to play as usual and his whole life long this little boy will defy you by being happy and free.’

Just as it is a father's responsibility to ensure that a child is happy, whatever may happen, it is our responsibility as political leaders to ensure a stable world for millions of children across the world.

The current changes in our climate are redrawing the world and magnifying the potential for instability in all forms.

We cannot tell future generations that we did not know because we are aware today of the risks that lie in store for us tomorrow. We know the threats, we know the risks and we can prevent them. It is a question of political will and of action. That is the key issue for this conference.

We must and we can hand over to future generations a world that is more stable, a healthier planet, fairer societies and more prosperous economies. This is not a dream. This is a reality and it is within our reach.

In Europe, in 2007, we decided to reduce our emissions of CO2 by 20% in 2020 compared with 1990. They have already fallen by 23% while Europe's gross domestic product has risen by 46%. We are now targeting a reduction of at least 40% in emissions by 2030.

European cities and leading edge innovative companies are on the path to energy efficiency and the development of renewable energies. Energy transition is drawing a new world, a world that is low in carbon but rich in opportunities.

A similar evolution towards a new economic model is in progress throughout the world. We need to step up the pace, because the hands of the clock are turning faster and faster. We would need at least four planets to maintain our current way of living, producing and consuming, but we only have one.

So, yes, the resources of this world may be finite, but human creativity is inexhaustible.

The current transition is not easy. We have to help each other. In 2014 Europe earmarked EUR 14.5 billion for climate action in developing countries. We will do more over the years to come. We must do more over the years to come. And others need to follow our example.

There is a new world dynamic. But we are still falling short of the mark when it comes to limiting global warming to less than two degrees, an objective that is a vital necessity.

Fine promises are no longer enough.We need a binding, robust and lasting agreement which reflects a long-term vision of a carbon-free economy, the implementation of which will be periodically assessed and adapted to raise the level of ambition necessary.

Each day, our citizens, our companies, our civil societies are making the energy transition a reality. For their efforts to succeed, they need this agreement of solidarity and responsibility. We have to give them that, and we can do it here and now in Paris.

Thank you for your attention.

SPEECH/15/6211


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