Mayors of the World.
Ladies and Gentlemen.
Hans Christian Andersen once said:
“Gratitude is the memory of the heart”.
Today, I am grateful to see all of you here in our capital, Copenhagen.
A couple of weeks ago. Many of us met on the other side of the planet.
To the UN Climate Summit.
Back there, you – Mr. Secretary-General – called upon all of us to take action.
This is why we are here today.
To shape the future we want.
All of us know that climate change is one of the greatest challenges facing humanity. And cities are unfortunately a part of the problem.
Today, cities around the world account for 70% of the global CO2 emission.
This means, that cities are also part of the solution. You are the solution.
I’m very happy to say that Copenhagen is a good example.
Since 2005 our capital has reduced its emissions by almost 40 percent.
And as you probably know by now. Copenhagen aims to be the first carbon-neutral capital only six years from now.
I think what is extremely important to underline, is that this is not only a political question. And not only a political choice.
I can see almost everywhere in Copenhagen, that the green solutions now a days are integrated into everyday life.
Only a few weeks ago we opened a new Metro line. Of course fully electrified.
Above ground, more than 50 percent of Copenhageners bike to work – to school every day. Even when it rains like it does today.
And in their spare time, many people bike to the harbor – to go to swim. Because the water there is so clean. I can tell you, when I was a little girl, it wasn’t clean! And we couldn’t go swimming in our harbor.
Unfortunately, the weather is too cold most of the year. But still. It is possible.
This is not a result of fortune. But of political decisions. To clean the water. And invest in bikeways.
In this way, Copenhagen shows, that the long and close ties – between pollution and progress – are finally broken.
That goes for the rest of Denmark as well.
Since the fall of Berlin Wall, Denmark’s GDP has grown by more than 50 percent.
Yet, in the same period of time our use of energy has remained constant. And CO2-emissions have fallen.
Now, we are raising the bar even further. Of course we are.
Last year, a unified Danish Parliament – and I’m very proud of that – set out to reach climate neutrality with net-zero emissions by 2050 at the latest.
This year my newly formed government set the target even higher. A reduction of 70 % in our greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.
Yes, you heard the correct number. Our reduction target is 70 per cent in 2030.
Do we know how to reach that goal? To be honest with you: The short answer is no.
Of course, we have many of the answers. And together with you, we will find many of the necessary solutions. But not all of them.
Or at least we don’t know all of them yet.
And do you know what? I you ask me.
Had we known all the solutions by now, the target of 70 percent would not have been ambitious enough.
This is what political leadership is all about.
No country, no company, no city can do this alone.
We need all cities to act. To make it in time.
We must pave the way for more green business.
We must allocate – and I think this is very important – much more money into green research and development.
That is why we have decided to double up, what we in Denmark use on green research – already next year.
Ensure more and better cooperation. At national level. City level. Global level.
We have to push inside the European Union.
I was a social democrat before I got green. And when I wake up in the morning, I am still a social democrat before I am green.
And this is why I also want to underline to you, that we need to make sure, that the green transition – that is so important to us – does not lead to inequality.
That is the promise we have to give to the world.
It will be extremely difficult – but it is necessary.
We must form new and strong partnerships – as you have already done – between governments, cities, private sector and civil society. Include everyone.
And as grown-ups we must listen very carefully to the children, to the youngsters, to the youth. Cherish their commitment. And encourage them to keep the spirit high.
They speak on behalf of someone else than themselves. On behalf of nature, the environment and the future.
We need to act to improve it all.
Ladies and Gentlemen.
“Just living is not enough – one must have sunshine, freedom, and a little flower.”
By this statement, Hans Christian Andersen is right, once again.
The future is – what we want it to be. We are caring it in your hands.
And sometimes simple things are made too complicated.
Let’s make the greatest cities in the world – the greenest cities in the world.
Let’s take back the future.