United NationsDepartment of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development

Major Group: NGOs

Ladies and gentlemen
Climate Change has become a reality much faster than all scenarios predicted.
Climate change is not just an environmental issue, as too many people still believe. It
is an all-encompassing threat, to health, to agriculture, to peace and security, to the
very ground millions of people live on, to the global economy. We are now at a point
where even the last government has given up denying this reality. Storms, droughts
and rising sea levels are bleak signs of what we are facing. Large regions will
become uninhabitable because they will be either flooded or get hardly any rainwater
at all. Developing countries are going to suffer disproportionately if the global
community continues the game that almost everybody waits for someone else to take
action. As Kofi Annan said when he opened the Nairobi climate conference in
November, there remains a frightening lack of leadership on climate change.
The new IPCC assessment report says that humanity has time until 2020 to reverse
the path of constantly growing GHG emissions. If we don?t act in these remaining 13
years dangerous climate change will become irreversible.
All governments sitting here are signatories to the UNFCCC and that means you are
legally obliged to a »stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations in the
atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with
the climate system«.
Yet listening to the energy debate yesterday it seems that many governments do not
take this commitment seriously. We cannot burn all existing fossil fuels if we want to
avoid a climate disaster. The policies promoted by many governments yesterday
clearly favour the further expansion of the fossil energy system and put renewable
alternatives on the sidelines. Such policies are incompatible with a stabilization of the
GHG emissions. Again I would like to quote Kofi Annan: The question is not whether
climate change is happening but whether, in the face of this emergency, we
ourselves can change fast enough.
Countries that have made the energy revolution their political priority have clearly
demonstrated that this creates more jobs than fossil fuels, they have enjoyed more
economic growth and it puts those countries in the vanguard of the future energy
technology markets. But those countries that are now listening to the tune of the
fossil lobby will be paying dearly in the decades to come. And this applies both to
industrial and developing countries alike. Countries are now deciding whether they
are going to import the windmills, solar panels and efficiency technologies in the
future, just as they do import petroleum now, or whether they will create their own
booming renewable energy markets.
The CSD needs to send a clear signal to the climate talks that will continue in May in
Bonn during the second week of the CSD and in December in Bali that it expects a
swift official start of the negotiations for the second commitment period of the Kyoto
Protocol with deeper and more comprehensive commitments. The environment
ministers face a lot of resistance on this path. When the Secretary-General is already
thinking of a special summit on climate change, it would be embarrassing if the CSD
would let them down. Thank you.