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EU climate commissioner says donors need to prove good faith

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EU climate commissioner says donors need to prove good faith


Adrian Lancashire, euronews: Connie Hedegaard, EU Commissioner for Climate Action, the UN conference has got under way in Mexico today… You said last week the prized legally-binding deal the EU was ready for last year hasn’t got a chance in Cancun. Aren’t we getting any closer to the goal?

Connie Hedegaard, European Commissioner for Climate Action: Yes we are, but we will not reach everything this year. That is the sad truth. But I think we must also be realistic, and then admit that this does not mean that we will not achieve things in Cancun. I very much hope that we will reach a substantial package of decisions, decisions on forestry, on adaptation and technology, on how to control that we actually deliver what we promise… all of the [donor] countries, and also on finance and other issues. So, the fact that we will not have the legally-binding deal done does not mean that we will not have anything done. Europe will do whatever we can to try to push for a substantial set of decisions done in Cancun. The world needs that.

euronews: What is your best-case scenario, or hope, should I say? Is this going to be a last minute thing?

Hedegaard: Well this is my seventh international climate conference, so I know that a lot of things will have to be done at the last minute. If we can agree on how to help developing countries adapt to the climate changes that they are already experiencing, and things like that, it’s not nothing. These are very important things.

euronews: You say developing countries, but I want to look also on the EU side. The EU made “fast-start pledges” in Copenhagen but days before the Cancun conference opened you said that, to deliver on them, “we still need 200 million euros from member states.” Have you got what you need?

Hedegaard: Actually, while we speak, we still will be short of these 200 million. But it means that the 7.2 billion that we pledged in Copenhagen will be there over the next three years – this year, next year and the year after. I think it is absolutely key that we deliver that, because I believe that if we can prove first that we can actually agree on a number of substantive issues, and the developed countries, including the EU of course, prove that we are delivering on our financial pledges, then I think that could and should pave the way for the internationally legally-binding thing. But the logic is: first now agree on substance, then it might be easier afterwards also to agree on the legal form.

euronews: As to practical things being done here in Europe, you have congratulated big companies for carbon technology performance this year. At the same time you said “cutting [the EU’s] emission target too far and too fast can kill jobs.” Is there any way to catapult, to encourage small smart businesses to make a big contribution?

Hedegaard: I think that most citizens in Europe will agree that yes we can lose jobs if we do it too over-ambitiously, but you can also lose jobs if you get too complacent and you are delivering the markets for free to your competitors. I thing the whole trick is to find an ambitious balance, to do as much as we can and move it in the right direction. If we do that intelligently then I think we will not lose jobs. In the end we will be able to export even more solutions to others who will demand them in the years to come.

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