Think of all the money we could save if Europe made the transition to a low-carbon society!

Speech by Connie Hedegaard, EU Commissioner for Climate Action, JCI World Congress, Brussels, 3 November 2011 Good morning to you all. It's fantastic that so many of you from so many countries have felt motivated to take part in this expert day that is dedicated to sustainable growth. And that is exactly what we need: sustainable growth. Why is this important? Well, climate change is one good reason. But there are others as well. When I was born we were just more than 3 billion people living on this planet. This week, the UN confirmed that we have grown to 7 billion; and by the end of this century we might reach a staggering 15 billion. At the same time more people are better off. In China alone, 400 million have come out of poverty. In Africa, the growth rates are high as well, even though not high enough to avoid an increase in the number of people living in poverty. That people are better off is of course good. But growing populations are also a huge challenge. Why? Because people who become better off also want to have, for instance, consumer goods that we have in the rich part of the world. And the resources on this planet - like water, food and energy - are limited. If we continue to use our resources like we do now, we risk exhausting the planet's reserves at an increasingly rapid pace. We need to find more sustainable ways to handle the nexus between energy, food production and water. These basic resources are interdependent, but scarce. We cannot afford to continue with business as usual. The growth that we need to feed 9 billion people on this planet can't be the same as the growth we have had until now. More than a billion new people will enter the middle classes by 2050, mostly in the developing world. If they adopt the same consumption patterns as their counterparts from industrialised countries, we would need at least two and a half planets to accommodate all these needs. That's why we definitely need a greener global growth model ...Zum vollständigen Artikel

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