Purchased a FORA.tv video on another website? Login here with the temporary account credentials included in your receipt.
Sign up today to receive our weekly newsletter and special announcements.
I am Stephen Bradley, the British Consul General, delighted to be co-hosting this morning's event with our friends in Civic Exchange. I think we all know that climate change, one of the greatest challenges the world faces today, the science appears to be undeniable, rising global temperatures will bring changes to weather patterns, rising sea levels, increased frequency and intensity of extreme weather events. The effect will be felt internationally and there may be severe problems for people in regions that are particularly vulnerable. The Kyoto protocol set the agenda for international action. But the issue now is what will follow it in 2012. Legislatures across the world as well as governments, national and local will have a crucial role to play but this is an issue that affects each and every one of us. The British government is I am glad to say, taking a strong lead in pushing this agenda forward. We prioritize the issue in our joint EU and G8 Presidencies last year and recently raised the issue for debate in the UN Security Council. We have set the issue of climate security firmly in the British Government's list of international priorities. At home the British government will be the first to introduce an integrated climate change bill looking at setting our long term emissions targets in a legally enforceable framework and introducing a system of carbon budgeting. These measures create a coherent framework that will ensure we achieve reductions in emissions whilst maintaining a strong and growing economy. In Hong Kong the consulate is actively trying to promote increased awareness and action to tackle climate change. Today's event is one of several activities that we are involved in currently. We are delighted to support this morning as well as the International Conference on climate change happening here in Hong Kong in a fortnight. It's my pleasure to introduce briefly our three VIP speakers this morning. To the right Honorable Elliot Morley MP, he is the president of Globe, the Global Legislator's Organization which is playing and will play an extremely important role in this process. I will allow him to tell you more about Globe itself. But this follows a career in politics, 10 years as a minister dealing with environmentalists; using which capacity he previously visited Hong Kong. Lord Jay was the head of the British Foreign Office and as such as the Sherpa, that is the person doing all the hard work in the background, preparing the economic summits that I refer to notably at Gleneagles. Since entering the House of Lords earlier this year he has been closely involved with the whole post Kyoto issue. Mr. Anders Wijkman MEP has been a Member of the European Parliament since 1999. He was previously an Assistant Secretary-General at the UN. He is the EU's Parliamentary leader in Globe. Now in handing over to Christine Loh, who is going to moderate, the speakers have asked me to emphasize that they are very keen to have an exchange this morning rather than deliver lectures. They are very keen to hear points of view from you here in the floor. So I look forward not only to hearing what they have to say to us but also to some excellent questions from the floor, Christine. Well, thank you all for coming out so early in the morning. But I am sure our speakers will not disappoint today. I am Christine Loh from Civic Exchange and I have the pleasure and the honor of the three gentlemen making a special detour to Hong Kong so that we can have this discussion with you this morning. They are on their way to Beijing this afternoon to speak to members of the National Legislature in China to continue the Globe dialogue on climate change. The reason that I was able to persuade them to make detour to Hong Kong is that I used you and your presence in Hong King and what you and what you want to do to attract them to come. So after they introduce their work to you what they would like is to really hear from you the work that you are doing and I know many of you in the audience, I know that the work that you and your company or you and your associations are getting involved in have or they relate to of the environment, energy efficiency and or climate. So we look forward to actually having some comments and feedback from you and also to hear what you do. But before we do that I would like to introduce each of the three speakers to ask them, to share with you of their work in Globe and also in the EU. The first presenter is Elliot Morley, followed by Lord Jay and Anders Wijkman Elliot. Thank you Christine and good morning ladies and gentlemen. I very much welcome the opportunity for having a dialogue with representatives of business and civil community here in Hong Kong on our way to China as you heard, following the invitation from the National Peoples Congress which came out of our Washington Forum, that we had last February. Just little backgrounds here to Globe, Globe was founded in 1991, the time of the World Summit on Sustainable Developments. And the idea was to bring together legislatures, from all around the world, to actually take forward the issue of environmental priorities. Now of course, the climate change has come to dominate the whole environmental agenda because of its importance, because of its implication and because there is a real need for international action and an international agreement. We were of course delighted when Russia ratified the Kyoto Protocol when it came into force. But the Kyoto Protocol had brought the first stand in terms of dealing with climate change and I mean we must look to a strong and effective, post 2012 framework agreements and I know that Lord Jay will say a few words about that and how it's going and some of the priorities. The Globe itself has been around us let's say for a while. But in the UK when the Prime Minister Tony Blair started the Gleneagles dialogue, which is designed to run from the UK Presidency until the Japanese Presidency in 2008. Globe set up a parallel dialogue with legislatures. The idea being to bring together the G8 plus Five group of countries and to try and explore where we can find some common ground, where we can find some political consensus and of course the advantage within the Globe organization is that we are not negotiating, binding agreements. We don't have to sit up all night arguing about one sentence and closed brackets about agreements. It's an opportunity for actually putting forward some ideas and some loose kinds of thinking in trying to find those consensuses and trying to build confidence and I think Globe is being very successful in that. The first meeting of the dialogue was held in London during the UK Presidency and the second meeting was held in the Berlin during the Russian presidency. And we are just working towards our next forum which will be in Berlin under the German G8 Presidency. It's worth saying that in February we did have a very successful and very important legislator's forum meeting in Washington, actually in the Senate building. I think it's quite significant that the Senate hosted legislatures from the G8 plus Five countries to talk about climate change to try and reap some kind of a consensus view in a way which frankly would not have been possible even a few years ago. And I think that illustrates the shifted political opinion that has taken place with in the United States. And indeed we had a succession of very senior Senators come and address the forum. People like John Kerry and Lieberman and McCain. And there is no doubt in my mind that we are seeing a significant movements within the US political opinion, US business opinion and indeed US public opinion which I very much I very much welcome. We do of course have the forthcoming meeting of the parties on the United Nations Forum on the climate change convention and that will be in Bali this year. And I very much hope that again that we see something significant come out of the German G8 Presidency at Heiligendamm which will influence the meeting of the parties in Bali, which will then go on into the Japanese Presidency where we will conclude our dialogue, we will give out the reports, we have four expert working groups set up by Globe and shared by very distinguished former ministers from the G8 plus Five countries. And they will produce their reports on things like carbon markets, things like technology transfer. And this is all to trying to move forward the debates, to try and influence the debate, to try and bring forward some initiatives because the UN is the Only Game In Town, that is where there should be binding international agreements. But the truth is it is moving at a snail's pace and I think it's important that we go forward to all levels and not just in terms of international agreements, but also in the terms of unilateral action. And the UK has not been afraid to move forward on that front and out such upon some of the things that UK is doing. But one thing I do want to emphasize as well is that while the strengths of the Globe organization is that it also involves the business community. And we have a range of major corporate members such as BP, such as Vattenfall, such as Anglo Americans, such as the Japanese Bank of International Cooperation. And it's also important to have that link with the business community, with legislatives and with governments in terms of how we take these issues forth and how we address them. Because I must say, if I just want to be big provocative is that, we have heard a lot over the years from the big energy users and that's as it indeed should be its perhaps no surprise that if you are a power company, you are a steel company, you are a cement company then of course carbon markets and restrictions to potential carbon taxes, all these kind of changes are very important to you. But we haven't heard very much from the financial community; we haven't heard very much from the banking community, from the finance houses, until to very recently. And we also have had very little from those companies and industries involved in environmental technologies because while there are of course implications of the business in terms of climate change, there are also opportunities as well and we shouldn't forget that. Because it's such vast amount of things that the UK has done. The UK has set itself a target of reducing CO2 by 60 percent by 2050 a minimum. A minimum of 60 percent because as the science becomes clearer there may be requirement for larger figure than that but that will be enshrined in legislation, the first legislation of its kind, the Climate Change Bill will make it as such as responsibility on this and indeed subsequent governments to meet that target. It sets up a Carbon Committee that will report annually on how the UK government has progressed in terms of reaching its target so that people can see the progress that is made and also make suggestions about measures that should be introduced. It will also introduce enabling of legalization so that the necessary action can be put forward. The UK has also introduced such things as the actually the world's first carbon trading scheme under the UK Emission Traders Scheme which is now being subsumed by the EU and Anders will be searching on that. But also the the climate change levy on big energy users, the energy efficiency commitments on energy companies which is a requirement for them to actually plough money back into domestic uses to increase energy efficiency installation and the energy efficiency in itself. The UK also set up the Stern Report which address the economics of climate change, which is very important and ha also contributed to the science through the Hadley Centre for climate forecasting who held a major international conference in the UK G8 Presidency and produced a report called avoiding dangerous climate change. But what is very clear from the Stern Report and from the science is that doing nothing is not an option. And that there is no cost free option in this. In that we have had President Bush say that he feels the economic implications of signing up to Kyoto are more than the US can afford. What the Stern Report demonstrated was that US can't afford to take action; no country can afford to take action. And there are those potential benefits, in terms of economic activity of carbon markets; there has been a huge growth with investments within the city of London and setting up of a new trade organization, the Climate Change Services Association which is very much dominated by financial institution. In fact the UK is the second biggest investor in carbon markets and CDM after Japan which is by far the biggest investor in CDM markets. And now on the UK Environmental Technology sector has grown rapidly and is now the same size as industry sectors such as the aerospace sector for example. And it's still growing within the UK. So there are real opportunities in terms of looking for the solutions and looking for the opportunities in technology and carbon markets, they are important. And of course what will drive that is a stabilization goal and that's a very important objective from the UK as well. But what will really make the difference is international agreement because one country, even the UK which has taken very strong action on these issues is not going to make a difference. We really need the US to sign up. We really need the involvements of China and India the plus five group. And we really need a consensus amongst the G8 about how we take this forward leading to an effective framework agreement that will replace the Kyoto protocol when it expires in 2008. Now these are these are challenging issues but I believe that they can be done. But I think they are issues that none of us can afford to fail on, none of us can afford to dock the implications and all of us have a responsibility in terms of working together internationally to obtain that effective frame work and to ensure that we do stabilize green house gases and bring them under control. Thank you very much. Thank you Elliot and thank you Christine very much for the invitation to be here. I am delighted to be here as as I know Elliot and Anderson have a chance for an exchange of views today. The last time I was in Hong Kong I gave a talk about British Foreign Policy at Hong Kong University and I am delighted today to be able to talk about what is a really key element of British Foreign Policy and indeed all our foreign policies which is climate change. I just like to start by going back a couple of years. It's a little bit of an anecdote. But when I was as Stephen said working as Tony Blair's special representative to prepare the Gleneagles summit, I was at Tony Blair's instructions, putting forward to my Sherpa colleagues three things. First of all climate change needed to be at the top of our agenda. Secondly we needed to invite China, India, Mexico, Brazil and South Africa to take part in those discussions. And thirdly after the Gleneagles summit there needed to be some kind of follow up subsequent of Gleneagles dialogue. And the response I got to all three propositions was deep skepticism. And that was only two years ago. And I mentioned that because I think it just shows - and I will come back to this at the end that shows how fast things have moved internationally on the climate change agenda. And that's for a number of reasons. Firstly I think it's because the science has now become very much clearer. Those of you who have been following this will have followed the the three reports of the IPCC, International Panel on Climate Change. I don't think anybody seriously doubts any more that the planet is warming and that we have got quite a lot to do with that. And I think that is a key change. Someone said recently that it was about 95 percent certainty on the science which is as certain a scientist ever gets. So I think it's quite difficult to dispute that. Secondly the economics following the Stern's Report are now much clearer. Again I think there is widespread understanding that to act now is going to be cheaper than acting in say 10-15-20-25 year's time when the planet will have warmed and the and the action needed will be much harder and much more expensive. So I think there is internationally now a recognition that the planet is warming, that man is largely responsible for that. That the potential consequences are extremely serious and that action is needed now to cope with it. And I think it's for that reason the climate change is now at the top of the international agenda. It will be one of the key items for the German G8 summit in Heiligendamm in Germany in June and equally important, again, at that meeting, China, India, Brazil, Mexico, South Africa their Presidents and Heads of Government will be there. And I think it's also very significant that the Germans in their Presidency, in their preparations, had been involving, integrating those five countries into the G8 process. And a clear recognition you cannot solve these issues without their being involved. So very important summit coming up in June and that will I hope and believe make an important input into the UN negotiations which will begin in Bali in December with a view to reaching agreement by 2009 - by the end of 2009 on a new framework to succeed the Kyoto Protocol which expires in 2012. Now those negotiations, as Elliot Morley said, will be tough. And there is lots of disagreement as well an increasing convergence of views I believe on the importance and urgency of the subject. But the discussions are centering around now a series of propositions which I would like just to explain briefly because I think that's where the debate now is. And I would describe that first of all it's been centered around certain basic principles which should govern the framework, which should follow 2012. The first is equity. All countries must feel that the obligations they are assuming are fair. Secondly there must be flexibility. There must be the flexibility for different countries to take on obligations which do respect their particular circumstances. Third there must be urgency. We really cannot afford to say this is for the next generation; we don't need to do something now. That will be wholly irresponsible. Fourthly there must be we must be focused on sustainable growth. And I put the emphasis on both sustainable and on growth. Because any approach to climate change which denies the need to grow is not going to work but that growth has got to be sustainable. And that I think is a real a real challenge. And then finally, what is there in the jargon is adaptation, the need to help particularly the poorer counties, recognize and then adapt to the challenges which they will face. So those are the underlying principles. And I think that again increasingly people are looking at the approach to climate change as following including certain basic elements. The first is the need for some sort of long term stabilization goal. We all agree we are not going to let the planet warm up by more than say, two degrees, European view, or by allow more than a certain number in the jargon again the parts per million of CO2 equivalent into the atmosphere. There needs to be some sort of clear goal we all accept. Secondly, I think a really important point too; we need to again globally to try to ensure that there is some kind of price for Carbon. Because only if you have got a price for Carbon are you going to have the incentives then to develop and transfer and implement the technologies which are going to be needed for reducing emissions. And there are various ways in which you could have a price for Carbon. You could have it by Emissions Trading Schemes, you could have it by taxation, you could have it regulation. May be there will be mixture of all those three. But it seems to me; as far as business is concerned the least undesirable or most desirable of those is Emissions Trading Schemes. And the real issue now is how do we build on and develop the existing schemes in Europe, in the United States, in California, the North Eastern states, in Australia. How can we develop those and ensure they link up in such a way that we are moving towards some sort of Carbon price. And I would be really interested, to hear from you is to how far you think there is scope in China, in Hong Kong, in Asia for developing Emissions Trading Schemes here. Thirdly, the third element an in some ways the most difficult we need to reach agreement on the different commitments that developed countries and emerging countries will enter into in order to meet the overall global emissions reduction target. Now it's clear to me that the developed countries need to continue to lead on this. But there are also needs to be the engagement of emerging economies too, for example by reducing energy intensity. And I think this is a really difficult issue and this is where there is going to be some very, very difficult negotiations. How we reconcile the need for growth and increased energy use with global emissions reduction. And this is you takes us into the very emotive question as well which characterizes much of the discussion, who is to blame for the growth in emissions and therefore who should pay. That's going to be a tough and difficult issue to face. And then there is a whole set of another, the the fourth element I think in the framework will be around technology. The need for increased cooperation on the technology, on R&D including and I think a lot of people will now advocate this, including some kind of new technology fund which is going to finance R&D and then the transmission of technologies. And by talking here essentially about energy because climate change is basically about energy and in particular about clean coal. I think we have to accept that China and India have huge coal reserves. Those coal reserves are going to continue to be used as part of the energy mix. How do we ensure that there are other technologies available to ensure that coal is relatively clean? And finally the final element of this adaptation as I mentioned before, helping poor and vulnerable countries to adapt to change. What are the prospects of reaching an agreement of that kind by 2009? Well I am congenitally optimistic and I think that there is a reasonably good chance of doing so. But it's going to be tough. I think we can expect progress of the G8 summit in Germany in June and as I say I think that will give momentum to the UN process starting in November. Key players in this, the EU, that Anders will talk about, the US, I very much agree with what Elliot was saying, I see a real change in the United States and I think this is hugely important. There is clearly change in Congress, there is clearly change on the part of the states, there is clearly change on the part of business when we were there in in January, it was the same day as ten top chief executives said to President Bush, the time has now come to provide us with a coherent framework which will give us the possibility to invest with confidence in the longer term. Now please get on and do that. So I see a real change in the United States. Will there be change under the Bush administration? I don't know. But I think the key thing is that in two years time we will have a new US administration and it seems to me from having talked to the people working for pretty well all the candidates for the Presidency next time around, they all see climate change as one of the key challenges that the United States faces. So it's going to be a different United States approach to climate change in two years time. China, absolutely fundamental player, emissions likely to overtake those at the United States at some point fairly soon, I would very much welcome against this part of the dialogue we are going to have soon, your views on this. It seems to me that China sees this issue as immense serious but also immensely difficult in how you reconcile the need for growth within need for reducing emissions. We will have a clearer view after our talks this evening and tomorrow. India, absolutely fundamental as well, the arguments in India are a little bit different that the arguments are tent to be couch have up to now been couch, rather in the sense of you know, you caused this, you pay. I think they are moving away from that but I think that's going to be quite a difficult negotiation there. So I end by going back to the beginning. Let's remember how much things have changed in the last two years. Recognize where we are now. And recognize also that the chances are that the change over the next two years are going to be as great as they had been over the last two years. And that I think it means that if we are meeting here again which we are going to we do its interesting in two years time I think we would be we would be seeing that a lot further has changed. There is a lot of talk at the moment in Europe and United States about legacies, about Bush's legacy, about Blair's legacy, about Chirac's legacy. It seems to me that climate change is a legacy issue for an entire generation which is our generation. The question is whether we can do something about that. Thank you. Thank you very much Christine for organizing this. Like Michael and Elliot I am very happy to be here. As a matter of fact this is my first time and I think dialogue like this across the world is very, very important because regardless of where emissions do take place they affect us all. I am old enough to I have participated in the Rio Conference in 1992. And when I think back, all the negotiations before agreeing on the climate comment and realizing that more than 15 years have gone and also realizing that in spite of all those efforts and in spite of the agreements reached emissions are rising more rapidly today per annum than they ever did before. So even if we have achieved quite a lot most of the job is still ahead of us. Michael referred to a goal set by EU leaders a few years ago to try to limit the average temperature increase on this planet to a maximum two degree Celsius. To some people it may seem little. What can a couple of degrees really mean? But we have to bear in mind that during the last ice age the average temperature was only about between four and five degrees lower than today. So that just shows that when we start to play around with temperature on this planet and with the climate system there are indeed great risks. And I would like to recall that the climate system is not linear. It's non linear and there may be tipping points out there that we don't know about where some very abrupt change may take place and accelerates developments in the direction which would be rather dangerous for us. I will give you just one example because it's quite close to my own country. Siberia as you know, large tracks are frozen around the year so called Tundra if that tundra, those regions start to fall, to melt, it's very likely that huge, huge volumes of methane, which is buried down there are going to be released and thus accelerating the whole process. And turning the climate not into a couple of degrees warmer but may be five or six degrees. And then we are talking about a totally different planet and living conditions that would be unbearable in most of the regions of the world. So this is really the background why we in the European Union have been trying to take a stronger lead as possible. We only represent 14 percent of the emissions. That's quite a lot. But that just demonstrates like Elliot said that neither the EU nor Britain alone can solve this problem. We have to foster very close cooperation. We have to engage others. US, China, India together account for about 50 percent of emissions and that's why in this dialogue and in the daily work of the European Union we focus very much on dialogue with these countries. And I would like to say that growth can take place in many different ways. I don't want to brag about Sweden because we still have a lot to do. But I will just give you Sweden as an example. Our economy has grown by more than 40 percent since the early since the early 90s. And the emissions are down by seven percent. That's quite an achievement over that time period. And that just shows you that there need not be a linear link or 100 percent link between a growing economy and energy demand because if that were the case then this problem would be absolutely impossible to solve. And developing countries, while they are modernizing their economies they do not necessarily have to repeat the polluting mistakes that we have done. We know much better today. And by working together it should be possible to adopt or decide on policies, technologies, that lead us in a different direction. Now the EU on the ninth of March took a very important decision. All their member states were gathered in a so called EU Summit and they agreed to do the following. First of all to work for an agreement late no later than 2009, among industrialized countries to bring down emissions in 2020 by 30 percent, that's the objective. If the international agreement cannot be reached which we hope it will be, we have taken as a unilateral commitment to work for at least minus 20 percent for the EU. To back that up we have also agreed to enhance energy efficiency by 20 percent till 2020. We are now working on the details. And we will also make sure or try to make sure that at least 20 percent of our energy mix will be renewables. It's about eight percent to day. And lastly but not the least, 10 percent of transportation fuels will come from bio fuels. Parallel to that we have also made a very clear statement that while mitigation is very important, adaptation is also important. And we have to redirect our development cooperation portfolio so that we integrate risk reduction for all those low income countries where climate change puts development at risk because of more draughts, more extreme weather events, water scarcity etc. Also in Europe by the way of course we face adaptation problems. More rain, prolong the vegetation periods in the north, less rain, less grain production in the south, more flooding in central Europe etc. Now which are the policy measures? Well, I will mention a few to give you an indication. First of all we are going to work to develop further our emissions trading system. It has not worked well in the first three years. A lot of problems to start with, one of the problems was that we had little information or too little information about historic emissions which meant that there was an over allocation, which is also meant that market more or less collapsed about a year ago. But we are very confident that this can be reformed. We are also going to rethink the principle of grand fathering were big polluters were handed over emissions rights for free, it was not a good system. It led to a lot of absurd consequences and we are now discussing a combination of auctioning and benchmarking. We are also discussing whether to bring in new sectors into the emissions trading. And we are indeed trying to re-chart to other parts of world. I hosted a meeting with a delegation from California a couple of weeks, in the European parliament, where we are now discussing very, very concrete terms, how we could link the European trading system with what is now being planned in California and some other American states. Norway is about to join, Switzerland as well and we hope for other regions of the world as well. I already said that efficiency is going to be number one priority. And all over the world it makes sense to cut the emissions to save energy, to save money, to lower emissions. Now what are the policy measures we are going to adopt? One is that we are putting more strict standards on the all new construction. And we are going to implement a directive in the member states where all the new buildings will have to have an energy certificate, telling potential customers what the energy balance is. And that those standards will grow stricter over time. And other directive that was recently adopted was the so called Eco Design Directive where we are focusing on electric appliances, everything from dish washers to computers and all the office equipment that we have, trying to make sure that in the design phase lowest possible electricity consumption is coming out into the market. And we are also working hard to try to achieve in the near future global standards in this area. The same goes of course for transportation. Those were a few examples of what we are aiming at. We are also discussing whether in the future we could involve, engage the citizens more fully. And I am just going to give you an example. Transportation and travel is one of the areas where we seem to have great difficulties to curb emissions. One could envisage a system in the future where each individual would have a card stocked with a a number of CO2 emission rights. And every time you fill your car or you make a travel, by air for instance, you would have to to draw from that car. And if you need more than what you have been given, well, then you have to buy from somebody else. I feel this is just something that could be tested. I think I will stop there. We are facing a huge problem, a huge challenge. But as my colleagues said, economies can grow in many different ways. And I think in the coming years quantity of growth will still be important. But even more important will be the quality and content of growth. And it should be possible for us together, to develop intelligent measures to bring us more and more away from an economy which continues to pollute the atmosphere. Thank you very much. Well, thank you very much. I am sure that you will all agree with me that the presentations by our three friends are extremely strong and they have crystallized and summarized for us what the issues are. One of the things that I find very exiting is and every time that I join them in our discussions at Globe in various parts of the world, is how much dynamism and innovation there is and what people are trying to do. As I said, earlier on I was able, hopefully, not under false pretense to persuade our three friends to come to Hong Kong because I would like to think that Hong Kong too can be a part of this innovation on climate change. We the response form all of you to come to this breakfast I think is an indication that there is interest in the community. What we need to do perhaps in Hong Kong, in galvanizing and gathering our our strengths here, is to see how to also pull ourselves together as to what we can do. So and I know from each one of our guest that what they like to hear most is not only your questions but also your ideas as to what you are already doing, what you think is possible to do and then for us to talk to each other about how we can build that community here for more enhanced engagement both in the private commercial sector and also in the public sector.