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Delegation of the European Union to the Republic of Korea

Congratulatory Speech by Dr. Joëlle Hivonnet, Chargé d'affaires, Korea Carbon Forum 2017

Congratulatory Speech by

Dr. Joëlle Hivonnet

Chargé d'affaires, Delegation of the European Union to the Republic of Korea

For Korea Carbon Forum 2017

 

 

 

Distinguished participants and guests,

 

It is my great pleasure to be invited to deliver a congratulatory address to the Korea Carbon Forum 2017.

On behalf of the European Union, who has always been at forefront of the transition to a low-carbon and more sustainable society, I sincerely welcome this event and the many efforts that the Republic of Korea is putting forward in this transition.

 

As you all know, the Paris Agreement entered into force on 4 November 2016, accelerated by the EU's prompt decision to fast-track it, through the joint ratification by the ministers of the 28 Member States and by the European Union, in its own right. Now, it is time to implement the so-called Paris work programme before the end of 2018.

 

The EU and its Member States remain committed to a rule-based international order and working with partners worldwide to ensure broader and better awareness, analysis and management of climate and environmental risks.

 

The Paris Agreement provides the framework for the global transition to low-carbon and climate resilient economies, and offers us the unique opportunity to transform our economies, create new jobs and allow our businesses to grow by going green.

 

The European Union has more than two decades of experience in designing and implementing climate policies in order to drive the transition to a low greenhouse gas emission economy, while boosting growth and jobs, thanks to the development of clean technologies and low- or zero-carbon energy.

 

The European Union is making this transition with its ambitious 2030 Climate and Energy framework. The legal framework necessary to implement the 2030 Climate and Energy framework and to fulfil the commitments of the European Union under the Paris Agreement is already in place. We now need to reach our ambitious domestic target of at least 40% GHG emission reductions by 2030. That is the reason why we have adopted an ambitious package of measures for the next 10 years, in order to further reduce our emissions and to increase energy efficiency and the share of renewables in the energy mix. 

 

The transition to a low carbon society requires rethinking our energy production and consumption; in other words we need to rethink what kind of energy we produce, how we produce it and how we consume it.

 

The EU Emission Trading System (EU ETS) is the flagship of EU domestic climate action and the backbone of EU's international commitment to emission reductions in a cost-effective manner.

 

The EU Emission Trading System was set up in 2005 and it now operates in 31 countries (all 28 EU Member States plus Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway, as members of the European Economic Area). The EU Emission Trading System deals with emissions from more than 11,000 heavy energy-using installations (power stations & industrial plants) and airlines operating between these countries.

 

The EU Emission Trading System covers around 45% of the EU's greenhouse gas emissions. In the summer of 2016, we presented some new proposals on targets for the EU Member States in sectors outside the scope of the Emission Trading System (such as buildings, transport, and agriculture) and for integrating the land use sector. The Republic of Korea also started a nation-wide ETS in 2015 and we are proud to partner with the Korean government, sharing our knowledge and experiences so far.

 

Resilience has become the key words of EU policies, and adaptation is a key component of each country's resilience. Resilience can best be described as the ability to cope with shocks and to ensure the long-term sustainability of growth and development. It is therefore of the utmost importance that we truly integrate climate change adaptation in national development strategies, including financial planning. What is at stake is the survival of our economies and our societies at large.

 

We also need to stress the importance of action at the local level. Reinforcing the cities and local authorities' ability to engage and work towards the resilience of their communities is an important building block of the national response to the climate threats. City mayors are directly accountable to their constituents for their decisions, and can act faster to respond to challenges. They are also best placed to engage citizens in the collective effort that is necessary to save our planet. Clearly, improving coordination channels between different levels of governance and stakeholders improves the overall effectiveness of these processes.

 

Since 2013, the EU Adaptation Strategy encourages national, regional and local adaptation action. It provides guidance and information on adaptation action to Member States and assesses their progress; it promotes EU funding for adaptation, and fosters adaptation at the local level including through the Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy. 

 

Good progress has been achieved: 22 Member States of the European Union have now an Adaptation Strategy in place and at least 5 more national adaptation strategies are in the pipeline. Climate action has been integrated into EU structural funds, which are used to support regional development in the European Union, with close to €115 billion supporting climate change objectives; and adaptation is also now fully integrated in the Covenant of Mayors, with more than 7,300 cities in Europe and almost 7,500 cities globally committed to climate action since May 2017.

 

Ladies and gentlemen,

 

The breakthrough Paris Agreement on climate change was a key achievement of multilateralism. And the EU is joining forces to forge ahead with the implementation of the Paris Agreement and accelerate the global transition to low-emissions climate resilient future. Together, we will stand by Paris, strengthen our existing partnerships and seek new alliances with the world's largest economies as well as with the most vulnerable States, including island states, so that, together, we can face one of the most compelling challenges of our time and we can win that challenge.

 

To win the challenge, climate action in G20 countries – which account for 80% of global emissions – is crucial. The Republic of Korea’s role is particularly important. We think that the Republic of Korea can show the way to other Asian countries and show that it can be better and faster than its neighbours. The EU will continue to support the Republic of Korea in its efforts and work with the Republic of Korea to meet the country’s mitigation and adaptation needs.

I am in no doubt that this year’s Korea Carbon Forum will contribute to our endeavours.

I thank you for your attention.

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