European Union President Frederik Reinfeldt
talks to Brunswick Partner Anders Fogel about
his hopes for Copenhagen
As President of the EU, what is your view on climate change and the targets set for the Copenhagen summit?
If we summarize all national targets today, we are closer to 15 per cent than the targeted reduction of 20 per cent by 2020. This will not be enough and we need to do more, including the developed part of the world as well as commitments from the likes of China and India. The question is whether China and India can present their own plans for their emission levels based on measurable targets.
What’s your view on financing to reach the climate targets?
We need to find different ways for up-front financing as well as long-term financing, especially within the area of CDM (Clean Development Mechanisms). President Obama also gave indications on financing at the Pittsburgh summit in September.
We need to support the least developed countries that lack their own resources. However, the money has to be used effectively and target appropriate initiatives, reaching the right people in order to get the effect we are aiming for. Unfortunately, no financing arrangements are yet in place.
How about the United States?
I believe that President Obama has been instrumental so far in opening up fruitful discussion with the US. Mr. Obama has a very professional team in place – as he did at the July summit at L’Aquila in Italy – and he could envisage more aggressive targets. However decisions have to be taken in the Senate, which will be challenging for the new Administration.
What’s your personal definition of a success in Copenhagen?
We need to find an new international agreement to replace Kyoto. National targets are not going to be enough. However the political energy debate since 2006 has been negatively affected by the financial crisis. There is an underlying feeling that someone else needs to fix the climate problem as well as provide resources and financing.
I hope we will have an agreement but I am not sure it’s going to be in line with the 20/20 target. The challenge we face is that the situation is not the same everywhere. In Europe, for example, there are binding targets of 30 per cent on emissions in Germany and Denmark and the Swedish target is 40 per cent. In contrast, Japan has set targets on energy efficiency.
The challenge will be to find ways to narrow our language and compare initiatives and targets. It will be tough to find a common platform from which we can work.
Would you regard Copenhagen as a success even if you had to walk away with an agreement way below 20/20?
No. However, I am not convinced that we have the fundamentals in place to find a binding international agreement based on the 20/20 targets in December this year.
Can you imagine an agreement where the EU takes on targets that are much higher than the US for example?
The US has lost a lot of time. It is clear to observe in US debates that 2025 or 2030 targets are more reachable than 2020. That’s why it’s so difficult to predict but we are very much focused on 20/20.
Fredrik Reinfeldt is the current President of the EU and Prime Minister of Sweden.