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Speech at the Opening Ceremon(B?rge Brend)

2008-11-12author:B?rge Brendsource:

  Chairperson, Dear friend Minister Zhou, Dear friend Minister Xie, Secretary General Zhu, Colleges in CCICED,


  In his speech last weekend Premier Wen Jiabao took a leader role on behalf of China as the worldwide financial crisis is spreading into the real economy. The physical package that the Premier launched was very brave and timely. I’m also pleased that the package includes important environmental measures and even more pleased that the Premier warned that climate change must be addressed despite economic slowdown. I would like to underline the urgency to addressing environmental matters in the context of the new economic realities facing the world.


  Past economic downturns have led, unfortunately, to increased environmental disruptions. For example, effects on forest lands and etc. This time we can’t afford this. China has demonstrated that it is an innovator on economic development and it will be an innovator on environment and development. The path taken by 1.3 billion people cannot fail to have an impact on the world.


  The global financial crisis is indeed the right time for China to make a move to a low carbon growth path including investments in low carbon infrastructure and renewable technology. Developed countries have to take the lead, but I’m glad that China has shown willingness to commit commits. During the World Economic Forums Summit this weekend in Dubai, there were two lessons learned highlighted from the current financial crisis. One, the longer you delay mitigating risk, the bigger the crisis will be; second, the world will need a growth engine to come out of the current slowdown, which could come from investments in low carbon infrastructure and energy efficiency.


  There will be enormous global markets for climate-friendly technologies and products in the not too distant future. China, with its competitive advantage in manufacturing, with its skilled labor force and a larger domestic market, is well placed to produce and try out new climate-friendly products. In some cases these products can be developed by China alone. In other cases industrialized countries should cooperate with China on research and initial development, while China can demonstrate the products on a commercial scale. The opportunity for cooperation and development and demonstration of new climate-friendly technologies also offer a complementary track to the on-going international climate change negotiations, which is hampered by mutual distrust between developing and developed countries. Technology transfer and an offensive way of looking at that is a prerequisite for a successful outcome of COP15 in Copenhagen. A low carbon economy will put greater emphasis on high efficiency and conservation as well as recycling of materials and will, therefore, reduce also the threats of resource shortages. More and more industrialized countries are also introducing measures against greenhouse gas emissions. Also, consumers in these countries have an increasing awareness of the carbon footprints, of goods and services they are consuming.


  Another promising sign in these states are coming from the US Administration that already has announced initiatives on how to transform blue-collar labor into green-collar opportunities. And also as my colleague, as Vice Chair Klaus Topfer underlined, also complements to UNEP and new Executive Director Achim Steiner, not so new any more, but any way with a new initiative a global green new deal to get the global markets back to work. Can you think of a more timely initiative?


  Friends, I find this year’s AGM agenda very timely, well prepared. And I’m really looking forward to a candid and open discussion air in the coming days. Thank you! 


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