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Energy and Climate Change
Foreign Affairs

Remarks by President Jerzy Buzek at the hearing 'Climate Change and Food Security" in European Parliament

Brussels -
Thursday, December 3, 2009

Dear Colleagues,
Dear Friends,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

Next week the world is in Copenhagen. For me the importance of the COP 15 conference is not necessarily to negotiate a final agreement, we are not there yet, the importance is to get a legally binding worldwide agreement. Time is against us.

Europe has taken the lead. We have presented the most far-reaching bid on the table. The climate and energy legislative package, including measures on emissions trading, carbon dioxide storage, CO2 reduction from cars, from planes and effort sharing, which has recently been adopted by Parliament, Council and Commission, is a significant contribution and a clear signal to the rest of the world that the European Union is taking its responsibility serious.
Last week the European Parliament adopted a resolution on the climate conference in Copenhagen by an absolute majority of votes.

We want to say: developed countries to significantly reduce their emissions collectively - at the high end of the 25-40% range by 2020; and that developing countries as a group limit their emission growth to 15 - 30% below so called "business as usual".

The European Union is showing its solidarity with the developing world. The collective contribution of the EU towards developing countries' mitigation efforts and adaptation needs should not be less than 30 billion Euros per year by 2020. We believe that 5-7 billion Euros of this should be fast-start funding for the period 2010 -2012; which must be new and additional money to existing development assistance. This is a matter of trust, and a matter for our credibility with the developing world.

The EU has already started doing its home work. According to the Commission's latest estimates, the EU will meet the current Kyoto target from 1997 by a large margin. Up until 2007, EU 27 emissions reductions amounted to 9%.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is now time for the international community to take its responsibilities, and work with us to find a common solution.

President Obama's personal commitment - both to domestic action and to a successful outcome in Copenhagen - is a clear and positive change in the US position. However, the United States administration can not continue to hide behind Congress.

Dear Colleagues,

I am positive that China has shown its engagement by proposing to reduce energy intensity by 20% in its current five year plan. And Brazil, India and South Africa, the so-called Basic Group in Climate Change Convention, are preparing an alternative text to the one prepared by the Danish government.

This is good news since the Basic Group, and Basic Text, has the support of the G77 and shows a commitment to have a serious discussion.

Dear Friends,

This brings me to my second point, the need for a real European Energy Policy.

For some in the EU, energy policy is the fight against climate change, for others it is about energy security. It is both. Without energy security, and a comprehensive energy policy, we can not address climate change. It is time for us to consider creating a European Energy Community.

We need a new sense of solidarity in production, purchase and consumption of energy. We need new financial instruments to build an energy infrastructure for the 21st century and for the new energy sources, for low emission fossil fuel usage, etc.

No member state can afford not to do it, but no state can afford to do it alone. This can only be done by sustained, European investments over the long term.

Dear Friends,

I believe that Europe will be a positive actor in the global war on climate change and we will, as Al Gore once said, "make peace with the planet", but what can we do as individuals?

I am convinced that for us to combat climate change we will also have to change our habits. From the houses we live in, to the cars we drive, to factories we build and to the every day household items we use. Simple things such as better energy efficiency, better insulation, cleaner fuel are needed otherwise no binding targets will ever be realistic.

One of the habits we also have to change is the way we eat. Not everybody wishes to be a vegetarian, but everybody can give up meat for one day.

The "meat free Monday" campaign is an initiative which allows people to make a meaningful change. The impact on the climate of over production of meat is becoming clear.

We have to act globally to face global challenges, but we can not ignore what we do at home, what we do locally.

Paraphrasing a famous song 'Here comes the Sun' by The Beatles: "Let's hope we can still say this in the years to come: I feel the ice is slowly melting, we need to keep long cold winters, here comes the sun, and we must make sure it's all right!"

All the best to our planet. Thank you Colleagues.

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