Moving forward together

Connie Hedegaard – European Commissioner for Climate Action

UN Climate Change conference in Doha, Qatar (COP 18)

Doha, 6-12-2012 — / — Mr. President, Ministers, ladies and gentlemen!

As we meet here in Doha, the world around us echoes with alarm and despair. Alarm over the pace of change in the nature around us. Despair over the lack of pace when it comes to agreeing on a global political solution.

We all know that we cannot solve everything here in Doha. But ladies and gentlemen, let us show the world that Doha, too, can deliver new steps forward! Let us show the world a reinforced resolve to move forward together!

The European Union wants this to be the COP where we cross the bridge from the old system with two tracks to a new system with one track.

A new system where all nations commit and contribute. Consistent with the convention. Yet dynamic enough to reflect the world in the decades ahead of us.

By the end of this COP, we should have arrived on the other side of the bridge, which Europe and a few other nations have secured by committing to a ratifiable second period under the Kyoto Protocol with immediate application.

And we should have clear progress on how to accelerate reductions beyond current commitments before 2020. The ambition gap is not closing. It is widening. That is already clear today.


Ladies and Gentlemen, patience is not my middle name. And we ARE running out of time. My plea to you is this: Let us not get caught up with formality. Let us deal with reality!

The reality is that we need to speed up to keep below the two degrees.

The reality is that we can take new steps today in international co-operation initiatives on energy efficiency, renewables, HFC gases and phasing out of fossil fuel subsidies.

The reality is also that Europe has delivered. We have delivered on finance in spite of historic hardship. We have made unmatched emission reductions. We have ambitious, comprehensive legislation. And, let me stress, legislation that will take us beyond our 20 percent reduction target by 2020.

The reality is major countries with no obligations emit as much – or even more – than European countries. And the sad reality is that only if these countries commit, will we have a chance to tackle the challenge.

Europe wants a new regime to be inclusive and equitable. For us, this means shouldering climate action in line with responsibilities and capabilities; it means promoting opportunity and choice; it means supporting action. And it means solidarity with the vulnerable who will be affected by loss and damage.


Ladies and Gentlemen, we don’t need more torrential floods, more storms and devastating droughts to tell us that time is running out.

Honestly: We do not have to wait for more reports to do the right thing. What we need now is progress. Progress on our common journey to a world with a stable climate and equitable access to sustainable development.

Our people expect it.

Our economies need it.

Our planet craves it.

Remember: we can bail out banks. We can bail out states. But no one can bail out the climate, if we don’t get our act together.


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