COP26 « Action and Solidarity Debate » — Intervention by President Charles Michel

(Source: Council of the EU and European Council)

Thank you, Boris (Johnson). Your speech has set the stage perfectly. You referred to James Bond; I am going to make a less glamorous reference – I’m going to talk about my grandmother. When I was a child, my grandmother always told me not to put off until tomorrow what needs to be done today. That is precisely the kind of thinking that should guide us today, and your remarks set the course to be taken.

Very briefly, a few points:

1)   Financing: we must mobilise public resources. The EU is already doing so. 37 % of the European budget, plus the recovery fund, will be dedicated to climate action.

2)   Private funds and the private sector: we must work together to provide incentives for the private sector and to develop common standards so that we can channel these enormous amounts of money – which you also mentioned in your opening remarks – into tangible and concrete results.

3)   The price of carbon: carbon pricing is a system that works. The EU has put that system in place. This has an impact, and therefore we must work, coordinate, harmonise as much as possible. And this is important because it will create equal conditions at international level so that we can all contribute to changing the economic and social prosperity model that the world needs.

4)   Next, coherence: other policies – trade policy, for example – must also incorporate this preoccupation with climate change. I’ll give you a current European example: we are actively looking into what is known as exported deforestation. Because it’s all very well being virtuous at European level, but if in reality we are putting in place trade mechanisms that shift responsibility outside the EU, we are not pushing forward the agenda we want to push forward. Thus, policy coherence is also an extremely important point.

5)   And now I will close with a few words. I was of course very impressed by the speech given earlier by the President of Barbados, who said – with feeling and with great conviction too – what needed to be said, and what we needed to hear: the USD 100 billion (in international climate finance), we must make it happen. The EU is stepping up to the plate: 25 billion have been mobilised, 5 billion will be added by the European Union. And the US commitments send an important signal, because they affect confidence.

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