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MP Antti Kaikkonen (ALDE), Speech at PACE 23.6.2014, Strasbourg

The Combat Against Climate Change

Honourable chair,

Nowadays there is a lot of tension in the world. For example the current situations in Ukraine and Iraq are far from stable. The events in these countries have recently gained full attention of the international community. I do not mean to say that they should not be monitored and observed carefully. However, it is crucial to keep in mind that at the same time, we are dealing with a lot bigger crisis that affects us all. I am talking about the biggest threat to the global world; climate change.

In March 2014, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) adopted a report that covers the impacts and risks climate change has on the world. Reading it is very eye opening. The message is that climate change causes severe risks for the well-being of humans and nature all over the world. It threatens people’s health and livelihoods, water reserves and eco-systems both at land and sea. Even though the effects can be seen everywhere, poor countries with low abilities to adjust to the changing climate will carry the biggest burden.

Last November I participated in the Warsaw Climate Change Conference. The results were not encouraging. The Conference was expected to work as a step forward towards a binding, ambitious international climate agreement. Unfortunately this did not happen. Fortunately we have another shot next year, when an extremely important United Nations Climate Conference is held in Paris. At this time it is crucial to keep in mind that we will not have unlimited access to second chances. For the sake of our planet and future generations, we have to come up with a globally binding agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to stop global warming.

In order to create a global agreement, the input and commitment of every country is needed. I strongly encourage both the European Union member states as well as Council of Europe member states to work as hard as possible and act as an example for others to achieve the common goal. The negotiations have already started and the substantial thing now is that the preparations proceed as fast and as far as possible already during the current year.

The human and material costs of damage control are considerably higher than the cost of preventing climate change. Therefore, we must do everything in our power right now to succeed in creating a binding and comprehensive agreement in the 2015 Paris Climate Conference. We must do it for the sake of ourselves, our planet and future generations.