At the eve of not so successful COP25 it is important to have this Seoul Conference on Climate and Energy and to pass a positive message from a European perspective and lead by example:
The new EU leadership proposed within 2 weeks of holding office the Green Deal for Europe.
What does it mean?
The European Union will enshrine its commitment to be climate-neutral in 2050 into a Climate Law.
To make this possible there is need for
The European Green Deal is Europe's new growth strategy. It will cut emissions while also creating jobs and improving the quality of life. This is the win-win aspect.
This is important – in order to succeed we need positive messaging to motive people to engage and to change. Domesday scenarios don’t work even if they are true. However, this is of course no call for complacency either:
The Green Deal is the green thread that will run through all policies – from transport to taxation, from financing to producing, from food to farming, from industry to infrastructure.
The European Union was founded on the basis of coal and steel – but we recognise that today “the old growth model based on fossil fuels and pollution is out of date and out of touch with our planet”.
The Green Deal means to invest in clean energy, to achieve a sustainable energy mix with focus on renewable and sustainable energy and extend emission trading. This will boost the circular economy and preserve biodiversity.
The European Green Deal is not just a necessity: it will be a driver of new economic opportunities.
Many European companies are already going green.
They are cutting their carbon footprint and developing clean technologies. They also know that discovering the sustainable solutions of tomorrow will give them first mover advantage.
In short: Climate change is also good for business.
However, the Green Deal policy cannot be limited to Europe. We seek partners because climate change is a global issue and – unfortunately one has to repeat nowadays truism – global problems need global answers.
This also implies a just transition with burden sharing for regions and sectors most heavily dependent on fossil fuels. The Just Transition Mechanism will provide bridging money. Transition must work for all or it will not work at all.
The ecological transition will reshape geopolitics, including global economic, trade, security interests. This will create challenges for a number of states and societies – we need an effective and comprehensive climate change diplomacy.
Citizens understand: In the elections to the European Parliament green parties all over Europe gained in strength. People recognise the problem and are ready to contribute to solution. In Korea fine dust was the wakeup call – together we can make a difference, alone we are lost.
Let me close with a summarising quote from EC President Ursula von der Leyen: “Our goal is to reconcile the economy with our planet, to reconcile the way we produce, the way we consume with our planet and to make it work for our people.”