Good afternoon and thank you for coming.
Ten years ago today, the international community reached agreement on the Kyoto Protocol. It was an historic first step towards cutting greenhouse gas emissions.
This week in Bali, we must take another historic step.
We must set out an ambitious roadmap to start urgent negotiations on a global and comprehensive climate agreement for the post-2012 period.
It is clear that this future agreement will have to be far more ambitious than Kyoto.
You may be sure that the European Union will continue to exercise its global leadership to achieve this goal. As a union of 27 democratic countries bound by legal commitments, we speak with one voice for a region of 500 million people.
And our citizens, like those elsewhere around the world, are increasingly concerned at what the scientists are telling us.
They are demanding action.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the IPCC, has concluded that climate change is unequivocal and accelerating.
All the IPCCs scenarios project a further rise in temperatures this century to more than 2 degrees Celsius above the pre-industrial level. This would take us into the danger zone where the risk of irreversible and potentially catastrophic changes in the global environment greatly increases.
It is our generation’s historic responsibility to prevent this from happening. This, I believe, is the clear message of the Nobel committee in awarding this year’s Peace Prize to the IPCC and to Al Gore.
The international community must move urgently to put in place a post-2012 climate regime. That is why it is essential that we reach consensus here in Bali to launch negotiations on a new agreement.
We must also set a deadline for completing the negotiations by the end of 2009 so there will be enough time to ratify the agreement and bring it into force before the end of 2012.
And we need a ‘Bali Roadmap’ to guide the negotiations that sets out the agreements main building blocks and the level of ambition it must aim at.
For the European Union it is clear that the ambition of the future agreement must be to limit global warming to no more than 2 degrees Centigrade above the pre-industrial temperature. This is the tipping point beyond which we would be into the danger zone of severe impacts.
Keeping within this limit means that global emissions will have to peak within the next 10 to 15 years and then be cut by at least 50% of 1990 levels by 2050.
This is without doubt a huge challenge, but the analysis of the IPCC and of the European Commission concurs that it is both technologically feasible and economically affordable if we act fast.
Developed countries have the moral duty – and the necessary resources – to lead the way in cutting emissions. One of the key components of the future climate agreement has to be much deeper, mandatory emissions reductions by the industrialised world.
Bali is not the place to start negotiating who does what, but the European Union is very clear about the emissions cuts that will be needed.
We are proposing that developed countries commit to reduce their collective emissions by 30% by 2020, and by 60 to 80% by 2050, compared to 1990 levels.
The European Union is ready to do so providing other developed countries agree to make comparable efforts during the forthcoming negotiations. In the meantime we have given an independent commitment to cut our emissions by at least 20% of 1990 levels by 2020, as I’m sure you are aware.
Im glad to say we are finding strong support here in Bali for the EUs positions on a wide range of issues. Real progress is being made towards consensus to launch negotiations and agree on a roadmap.
The key challenge I see for the next few days will be to ensure that the roadmap sets out a negotiating process, and a substantive work plan for the negotiations, that is sufficiently ambitious to tackle the climate challenge we face.
Of course the post-2012 agenda is not our only concern. We also came to Bali to press for short term action in areas that will be of particular benefit to developing countries.
Yesterday came the first breakthrough with the finalisation of arrangements for the Kyoto Protocols Adaptation Fund.
This very welcome success will allow the fund to start operating and to help the most vulnerable poor countries in coping with the impacts of climate change.
It also looks like negotiators are very close to agreement on a framework for pilot projects to tackle deforestation.
These will be very important for testing which performance-based incentives work best so that a post-2012 regime can address deforestation fully and effectively.
All in all, I believe this conference is on track to deliver good results – but the next three days will be decisive and I have no doubt there will be some difficult discussions. We must not miss this historic opportunity to lay the ground for the ambitious action that is essential if we are to win the battle against climate change.