Tony Blair’s Remarks of Breaking the Climate Deadlock
Hello, everyone,first of all, thank you very much indeed all of you for coming along for the launchof this report. Can I say a special word of welcome to former Japanese PrimeMinister, Prime Minister Abe. It’s a great pleasure to see you here, sir, andto also our friends and colleges from the media. What I am going to do is Iwill outline this report to you and then I’ll take some questions from themedia and then I now if we have a chance to do some informal discussion lateras well.
The problem ofclimate change is now, almost universally understood and acknowledged. This isin itself a major achievement. But now is the moment to get serious about thesolution. Such a solution has to be global. It must include America and China.It has to be radical. It must put the world on a path away from carbondependence to a new and green economy. It has to be realistic. It has to takeaccount of the completely legitimate right of people - especially the world'spoorest - to enjoy the benefits of economic growth and prosperity that shouldbe spread to all. //
There has been avast amount of work to get us to here. The United Nations’ process led brilliantlyand often heroically by Yvo de Boer has set out the international community'sroadmap to a deal; which will culminate in the negotiation in Copenhagen inDecember2009. The IPCC panel of experts led with such distinction by Dr.Pachauri has examined and laid out the scientific consensus. Here in Japan, wecan see how the political agenda has been shaped and changed, first by Prime MinisterAbe's Cool Earth policy and now under the leadership of Prime Minister Fukuda,who leads this year's G8.
Ours is adifferent type of report, is a report drawn up by experts but guided by a politician.Our work is split into two phases. Phase 1 is for this year’s G8. Phase 2 willbe for next year's. Phase 1 is an attempt to clarify and bring order to theagenda for the solution. Phase 2 will attempt to set out what the solutionmight be. Phase 1 is in part analytical and technical; in part it is about howto make sense of the political process. Essentially, it is about trying tounite the scientists and experts with the political leaders anddecision-makers. As such it is explicitly designed to be a practical waythrough; not yet another campaigning polemic to wake up the world to thechallenges of global warming. The world has woken up. What now it needs to knowis what to do.
The report warnsof the danger of a yawning chasm between, on the one hand the calls for radicalaction from scientists, environmental groups and people rightly alarmed at theeffect of greenhouse gas emissions on our planet; and on the other, the anxietyof decision makers in politics and business, who share the aims of the radicalaction but worry about whether that action is realistic. Long-term everyoneaccepts that the needs of economy and the needs of environment operate in partnership.Short term there is a clear tension. And we live in the short term.
The report triesto design a way to bridge this chasm. There is a blunt reality that we need to acknowledgeamongst all the talk of targets, goals and obligations. The climate demands,over time, a radical, transformative change in the nature of the world economy,moving from growth built on carbon dependence, to environmentally sustainabledevelopment.
But we need to beclear about the size of the task. The US emissions are still growing. So are thosein Japan. In Europe they are static. China and India are set, rightly, toindustrialise and move their vast hundreds of millions of poor people fromsubsistence agriculture to the modern economy. Now we are talking about aglobal 2050 target of at least a 50 percent cut in emissions. Let's be clear. Thisdate is decades away and decades beyond the political life of any government.
The key challengeis actually to describe a realistic pathway to that goal. And that implies shorter-termgoals. But these are immensely demanding, asking developed economies to movefrom growth in emissions to significant cuts within 10-15 years. Europe hasvery bold 2020 targets and it will take very bold action to achieve them. Therecent Warner-Lieberman Bill before the US Senate implied 5 percent cuts inemissions by 2020. That would be a big step forward but, according to somescientists, it falls short of the cuts necessary for world emissions to peak in2020. China has set a target of a 20 percent cut in energy intensity by 2010;and that is a huge step forward. But this is again immensely demanding, andeven if met, will not cut overall emissions, given China's need to grow. India,again wanting to act, also wants to grow.
The point I makeis the challenge is truly profound. One thing I’d learn to this report is thatthis challenge is as technically and scientifically complex, as politicallysensitive and as institutionally fraught as any the international community hashad to deal with since the post-war Bretton Woods economic settlement.
And, above all,and here is the point, it should be noted, our knowledge of this issue is constantlyevolving. Though we talk as if the science were certain - its overall purportmay be, the precise details are often open to substantial debate.
Therefore whatthis report proposes is this, it proposes an approach to the Copenhagen agreementat the end of 2009 that does not attempt a deal that tries to resolve allissues up to 2050 or even 2030 or 2020. But instead begins a process that willthen undergo necessary revision and adjustment as our knowledge improves andthe facts become clearer.
So we propose:
1. Set a cleardirection in Copenhagen; get the action under way. Do not try to put a spuriousprecision on each and every aspect. Set a realistic target and get the changestarted. Make Copenhagen the beginning but not the end of a process that willrequire constant adjustment over the years.
2. Carry onthrough to next year's G8 the informal process whereby G8 and the developingworld major economies continue to try to resolve core questions. Together G8+5and Major Economies’ Meeting represent three quarters of the global emissions.A steer from them is an essential precondition of this deal. And this doesn’tsupplant the UN process. It supports it.
3. As wediscovered, or I’ve discovered, there are a plethora of really tricky questionsthat need answering before a serious negotiation can work. We detail these inthe report. It is surely wise to commission work and research on them, makingfull use of the enormous range of non-governmental bodies, institutes andexperts, many of whom already contribute to the UN's work.
So the G8 shouldagree a work plan through to next year, to get this work done. Just give you somesmall examples-large issues but small examples. How do we raise the money thatis going to be necessary for technology, for deforestations, for helpingdeveloping countries? Is there a place for auctioning credits? If so, how wouldit work? Is the Clean Development Mechanism the right mechanism? Can it bereformed? How do carbon markets link up? Should the developing world haveaccess to them? How do we transfer technology? Do we need a new InterllcetualProperty Rright regime?
In this, Phase 1,we have identified the 10 building blocks of a global deal. The global target,an interim target, developed world commitments and carbon markets, developingworld contributions, sectoral action, financing, technology, forests,adaptation and institutions and mechanisms of action.
And what we havedone under each head is trying to isolate the key elements that will need agreementand the further work to clarify each of them. We also identify significantfacts whose significance in a pratical way is nonetheless often lost. Forexample, energy efficiency would provide around one quarter of the gainsnecessary and, incidentally, save money. It requires special focus.
The vast majorityof new power stations in China and India will be coal-fired; not “may be” willbe coal-fired. So developing carbon capture and storage technology is notoptional, it is literally of the essence. Without at least some countriesengaging in a substantial renaissance of nuclear power, it is hard to see howany global deal is going to work.
For developingcountries to grow sustainably they will need funds and technology, otherwise theywill not be able to peak and then reduce emissions within the necessarytimescale. Deforestation amounts to around 15-20 percent of the entireemissions problem. Certain key sectors like cement, steel and of course powermost of all, account for a huge percentage－almost half of all emissions.
Airline andshipping emissions, though only 5 percent today, are a fast growing. Doneright, the costs of abatement will be manageable and probably less thanpredicted, and there are potentially real opportunities for the new low-carboneconomy that will develop. The point is: all of these intensively praticalquestions require to be answered if we are to put a global deal together.
And in the endthis is the question: What is it reasonable to ask countries to do on theirown? And then, what more could be done, if the right partnership was in placefor a global deal? In other words, how do we, by use of global mechanisms in aglobal agreement, accelerate the process of change in individual countries?
Because there maybe a gap between what it is reasonable to do and what is necessary for the climateto survive. And the global deal is about eliminating that gap.
The aim of Phase 2of the report will be to try to show how the building blocks can be arranged ina cohesive global deal. In particular we will try to bridge the chasm earlierdescribed between the entirely understandable demands for radical action tosave the environment and the equally understandable desire for countries toenjoy economic growth and prosperity in a world in which the majority, atpresent are still poor.
Finally, some goodnews. It is clear the deal can be done. Indeed it is clear that long term thereare going to be benefits in doing it. But short-term we need to get theelements in place and we need to get them in place fast. And that is what thisreport is designed to help. Thank you very much.