This speech was written for Danish Minister for Climate, Energy and Building, Martin Lidegaard to be delivered at Copenhagen Climate Finance Meeting with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in Copenhagen, Denmark, 22 October, 2013.
Climate Finance in the Round Tower
Mr. Secretary General, honourable ministers, distinguished business leaders and policy makers
Tonight we gather in the Round Tower. Build by the Danish King Christian the Fourth in 1642 as an observatory in the tradition of Tycho Brahe, the Danish astrologist. We meet to discuss public and private roles in climate finance. And this building itself may hold several lessons for us. The King played a prominent part in planning this building. But the height of the Round Tower was only decided after the construction process was well under way.
The Tower serves as a reminder of the need to get started – even if you don’t know exactly how far you can go! When the Tower stood tall there was space left in the bell ceiling. The space was rented out for drying laundry, tanning fur and making colourful feathers for women’s fashion of the day. So the Tower has always been associated with innovative business operations.
And as an observatory the Tower allowed its users to study the stars – and look in to space. What they found was used for sea navigation and trade purposes. Again allowing scientific findings to guide commercial development. I guess we could also learn something from that in the climate negotiations.
So, welcome to the Round Tower. I am so pleased that you have all accepted our invitation to gather here tonight and tomorrow. We meet here because our climate is in jeopardy. The signs of climate change are unmistakable. And they are scientifically backed in the recent IPCC report. It will affect the poorest countries the most, but make no mistake we will all be affected by its consequences.
We meet here to arrive at actionable solutions that hold the potential for real change – and climate finance is key. If we are to stay below two degrees, we need investors to think of climate related projects as just another asset – as a good asset. That is why we are here.
The good news is that climate related investments are increasing. Investors are embracing the opportunities. Countries are changing their policies and regulation. Things are moving. The bad news is that that doesn’t move fast enough.
I am proud of the solutions and framework conditions we have put in place in Denmark, and I am humbled by the road ahead. What makes the Danish case special is that 95 % of Parliament has agreed on ambitious targets for renewables, energy efficiency and greenhouse gas reductions. And that the Danish business sector applauds the energy agreement. But Denmark is in no way the only example of good framework conditions that make private investments flow. China and Germany are attracting massive flows of private capital as a result of a business friendly investment climate. And they are not the only ones either.
We see a trend where public money is being put to use to create an enabling environment that can leverage private investments: “A business friendly climate for climate friendly business”. A business friendly climate means a sound business case with the necessary return on investment. That makes the money flow. That will allow us to make the huge infrastructure investments we need in the coming years. We need to get the incentives right to guide capital to climate smart investment objects.
Our challenge is: TIME. The world is changing as we speak. There is a huge need for new infrastructure right now. If we wait, that need will be satisfied by brown investments or no investments at all – not green investments. We cannot let the opportunity for smart investments slip. We cannot risk locking in investments – and stranding assets down the road.
I want to extend a particularly warm welcome to the Secretary General – and to thank him for his unwavering climate leadership. Thank you Mr. Secretary General for being here – and for providing your guidance to this process. Mr. Ban Ki-moon: Velkommen til København! The floor is yours.