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United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development

United Kingdom

New York, 26 February ? 2 March
UK Speaking Note on Climate Change
The UK associates itself with the statement made by Germany on behalf of the EU
and its Member states and welcomes the opportunity to emphasise further the
importance that the UK Government pays to the issue of climate change.
The latest science shows us that climate change is a bigger issue and more urgent
than had been previously understood. The IPPC fourth assessment report provides
more certainty on the link between human related emissions of greenhouse gases
and climate change.
The economics are also clearer. The Stern Review shows how the costs of inaction
far outweigh the costs of action. So we must take strong action, and now.
Development is a legitimate and desirable priority for all countries in the world.
Meeting growing energy demand whilst at the same time avoiding dangerous climate
change necessitates a major shift in the way that energy is produced and consumed.
Energy investments made now will typically be locked-in for a minimum 30 ? 50
years. We therefore face a 10-15 year window for influencing our ability to avoid
dangerous climate change ? delaying action is not an option.
The IEA estimates that US$20 trillion investment is required within the energy sector
over the next 25 years, with half of this in the developing world. The UNFCCC must
provide long-term policy certainty to support global investment in low carbon
technology and a value for carbon. But market forces alone will not suffice to reduce
emissions on the scale and pace required ? governments need to do more to
promote energy efficiency, and to deploy existing and develop new technologies.
As major actors, developed countries need to work together, and in partnership with
major emerging economies, to take urgent action to achieve substantial reductions in
greenhouse gas emissions necessary to avoid dangerous climate change.
Multilateral agencies, notably the World Bank and Regional Development Banks also
have a key role to play in shifting global investment patterns consistent with meeting
the challenges.
The impacts of climate change are already being felt ? it is clear that climate change
is more than an environmental concern, threatening international prosperity, security
and development. All countries will be affected and will need to adapt to the climate
change that we are unable to avoid. But it is the poorest that will be affected most.
Without urgent action to tackle climate change the achievement of the Millennium
Development Goals are under threat.
2007 is a vital year if we are going to succeed in avoiding dangerous climate change.
The G8 summit in June is an important forum for building momentum on the
elements of a future framework, which amongst other issues should include a
stabilisation goal, the role of the carbon market, technology transfer, deforestation
and adaptation.
The UNFCCC and its Kyoto Protocol provide the international framework for the
collective international action which is essential - in particular a decision at the Bali
COP in December to launch negotiations on a comprehensive future framework for
conclusion by 2009.
The CSD has its own, different, role to play by pointing and committing to mutually
reinforcing actions on energy for sustainable development, industrial development,
air pollution and atmosphere, and to tackle climate change. In this way, all countries
can adopt a path of development that is significantly lower carbon than now.