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Climate change is one of the most complex issues with which the international community is seeking to deal. And what makes it so complex is the fact that there are such hugely divergent interests at stake. We have industrialized countries that are afraid that they will see a slowing of their economic growth and that they will lose a competitive edge to emerging developing nations. Those same emerging developing nations are primarily concerned about economic growth and poverty eradication, about lifting their populations out of poverty. And their fear is the climate change policy at the international level will slow down there possibilities for economic growth. Oil-producing companies are afraid that they will use... lose revenue. Small island nations are afraid that they potentially can disappear because of sea level rise. Those are some of the conflicting interests that we’re seeing at the international level amongst governments.
At the same time it is obvious to you that, clearly, not all companies can come out of this process as winners either. Energy-intensive industries are afraid that their future is at threat, emerging technology companies in the wind or solar space actually see an opportunity here. In other words, conflicting interests amongst the business community as well. And that’s what makes this problem so complicated and so challenging.
The challenge that we face in the context of an international agreement is to find a way forward that seeks to address as many interests as possible, that balances the interests of companies and people around the world, that tries to find a common way forward. And that it is why... that is why it is so important that, for example, we differentiate in the commitments which different kinds of countries make; that we ask more from richer nations and less from poorer nations. That is why it is so important that financial support is made available to developing countries to adapt to the impacts of climate change. That is why capacity building is such a critical issue to allow developing nations to build the infrastructure in the institutions that will allow them to understand climate change and cope with it. And that is why driving technology into markets is so critically important if we are to advance this agenda.
One of the challenges for Durban is going to be to decide, within the international community, how we are going to do that. And how we are going to mobilize an international toolbox of instruments to meet the challenges that the international community has set us, to meet the challenges that the international scientific community has set us to come to grips with climate change and keep the impacts under control.
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