United Nations Summit on Climate change - Speech by Mr. Nicolas Sarkozy, President of the French Republic

Today, we have only 87 days left to succeed or fail. From the
unanimous scientists, we know that global warming is a reality. No one can
dispute this reality.


We know that we have to limit it to 2° and that if we don’t
succeed, it will be a disaster. There’s no more disputing this. We are,
regardless of the differences between us, the last generation that can take
action. For the first time, we have to decide, not for our countries, not for
our regions, not even for our continents, we have to decide for the planet.


To sum up, we have to choose between disaster or the
solution. We are deciding for the whole planet and what we don’t decide, those
who follow us will no longer be able to decide. Rarely has a choice been so
crucial for the future of mankind.


Secretary-General, let’s look clearly at the situation we are
in. We are today on the path to failure if we go on as we are. There’s no point
in being hypocritical, no point in indulging in diplomatic or political
tinkering. There’s no point even in my inflicting a grandiloquent speech on you
87 days from Copenhagen. We need proposals, action, and people to take


We know perfectly well what the four principles are which
will make Copenhagen a success:


- Reducing global emissions by 50% [below 1990 levels] by


- For the developed countries, we don’t need a reduction of
50%, but one of at least 80% by 2050;


- For the emerging countries, the growth of their emissions
must be reduced, with technological and financial assistance from the developed
countries; I’ll come back to this.


And finally, somehow or other, we’ll have to pay for the most
vulnerable countries, those of Africa and the small island States, there’s no
other choice.


What do we lack? Today we lack two things: will and


A lot of leaders are afraid of being asked to choose between
growth and environmental protection, that’s understandable, confronted as they
are by poverty and unemployment. But no one has to make this choice, and in
Europe we are proving that you can move from high carbon growth to sustainable
growth. We’ve proved this in Europe with the energy-climate package and we’ve
proved it in France with the creation of environmental taxation.


No one will have to choose between unemployment and the
environment, between hygiene and protecting the planet. As for good news, there
isn’t much, but I want to salute the leadership of the new Japanese government,
which has made some very strong commitments, as has China. But today we have to
go far further.


I want to propose the establishment of an efficient mechanism
to finance those who need it and to carry out technology transfers. If we don’t
do this, the emerging countries won’t join us. And they have to join us because
they too are accountable for the planet’s future.


Mexico has proposed a universal contribution, France supports
it. The European Commission has estimated at €100 billion the potential annual
cost between now and 2020 of helping the developing countries adapt to the new
concept of sustainable growth – we are ready to do this. Really, developing and
emerging countries, I tell you we are ready to make the financial and technology
transfers. You yourselves must do what’s right for the planet.


I have to be frank: in France and Europe we are taxing
polluting companies; no country will be able to get out of doing this. Either we
all do it and we’ll help you with the financing and we’ll help you through
technology transfers; or we don’t all do it and in that case we’ll be compelled
to levy a carbon tax at Europe’s borders. Faced with the gravity of the
situation, we can’t have one part of the world protecting the planet and another
part of the world groundlessly refusing to do so – that’s not being equal to the
challenge. For the moment, there’s no will to do this. We all have to do it, and
we, the developed countries, will help you financially and technologically.


I also want to say that France will make proposals with
Brazil and the Congo Basin countries on the forestry issue. 20% of emissions are
due to the destruction of the forest. We have to help the countries with the
world’s largest forests, which play a huge role in environmental protection, to
maintain, protect and even develop them. That’s active solidarity. I’m thinking
of the Amazon, the Congo Basin forest and of course the Siberian forest. Forests
belong to mankind.


Finally, I’m keen for us to take a special initiative for
Africa. Only 17% of Africans have access to primary energy, we can’t leave
Africa in this situation. Basically, we, the developed countries, will have to
pay and to transfer technology; you, the emerging countries, will have to commit
to reducing your emissions without this damaging your growth; as for the poor
countries, they must be at the heart of the Copenhagen strategy. But all of us
will benefit from this new growth.


Finally, I shall end by making proposals. The first is that
we at last decide to create a single world environment organization. Making a
success of Copenhagen isn’t everything, we also have to be able to manage the
consequences of the decisions taken in Copenhagen. There are around 60 scattered
organizations dealing with the same questions, let’s create a world environment
organization, decide in principle to do so in Copenhagen.


Secondly, I propose that we, heads of States of the main
economies, which account for no less than 80% of greenhouse gas emissions, meet
in the middle of November, i.e. between your meeting, Secretary-General, and
Copenhagen, to stop grandstanding, making speeches which aren’t followed up by
results, playing diplomatic games, and put concrete proposals on the table.


As you will have understood, ladies and gentlemen, France is
absolutely convinced that time isn’t on our side, time is our judge, we are
already living on borrowed time. Let’s face up to our responsiblities, not in
speeches but in action, France and Europe are determined to do this. Thank

Dernière modification : 08/12/2010

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