Bloomberg News

Climate Needs to Move to Top of Political Agendas, Denmark Says

September 05, 2012

The fight against global warming should move to the top of the world’s political agenda and the European Union has to lead the shift to climate-friendly policies, Denmark’s Climate Minister Martin Lidegaard said.

“Climate change is not only an environmental time-bomb, it is a serious threat to our economies and wellbeing,” Lidegaard wrote in a statement during an online discussion hosted by the WWF’s Climate and Energy Forum today. “The writing on the wall is crystal clear: we have to act now.”

The Danish call for more efforts to reduce greenhouse gases, which scientists blame for global warming, comes as climate envoys worldwide ended a week of informal discussions in Bangkok today to prepare the groundwork for the next United Nations summit. The talks were “mired in petty politics” and governments are “still not showing the ambition,” environment lobby Greenpeace said in a statement today.

Without further action to lower pollution, the planet is set to warm by 2.6 to 4.1 degrees Celsius (4.7 to 7.4 degrees Fahrenheit), according to a report yesterday by Climate Action Tracker, a project run by three European research groups. That would mean exceeding the key threshold of 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial level, which UN scientists say may cause more heat waves, flooding and intense storms.

Climate policies in the past few years have been hamstrung by the recession and the ensuing concerns that the fight against global warming was “too costly, given the state of public finances and depressed economic growth,” according to Dimitra Mavraki, a former adviser at the Greek environment ministry.

Not an Option

“Our experience indicates that business as usual is not an option if the economic recovery is to be sustained,” she wrote in the discussion on the Climate and Energy Forum. “So there is a need for a clear political support for low carbon technologies and a new energy mix for EU. To me, the only way out is the promotion of clean and indigenous sources, such as renewable energy sources.”

To reduce pollution and reliance on fossil fuels Europe intends to increase the share of renewable energy to an average of 20 percent by the end of this decade, cut greenhouse gases by 20 percent in 2020 compared with 1990 levels and boost energy efficiency by 20 percent.

Poland’s Environment Minister Marcin Korolec told the forum that politicians “need to combine climate agenda with the growth agenda” or risk losing the battle against time.

“Saving energy, driving the development of green technologies and buying consciously are precisely the right things to do,” he said.

To contact the reporters on this story: Ewa Krukowska in Brussels at ekrukowska@bloomberg.net;

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Lars Paulsson at lpaulsson@bloomberg.net


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