Here is the address of US
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton to the Danish
Parliament in Copenhagen, Denmark on May 31, at the 2012 meeting
of the Green Partnership for Growth
We have tried to make green growth a center of our diplomacy here because
we think we have a lot to learn from Denmark. It is certainly not a surprise
that Denmark leads the world when it comes to clean energy and energy
efficiency. Because, as the prime minister said, for the past few decades,
Denmark has grown economically. As you have also made it clear, that can be done
without significantly increasing your electricity use. Your national plan to be
completely independent of fossil fuels by 2050 is a global first. And in true
Danish fashion, the plan is comprehensive and rigorous. (Laughter.)
But I believe if any country can do this, it’s yours. So we are here to learn
and listen and support. But the ambitious plan that you have set for 2050 is
just the latest in your efforts on climate change – your commitment to reducing
greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent in 2020. And it is for me, personally,
inspirational to see government and business working so closely together,
because I do think this is a win-win. The green economy has so many
opportunities not only for national purposes, but for exports and other ways of
building the green market globally.
In fact, I know in 2009, when I was last here at the UN Climate Conference
with President Obama, we brought a number of American companies with us, and
many of them came home and told us we had no idea how many opportunities there
are in Denmark for business partnerships in green tech, and some of those
businesses are represented here today. So the word spread, and our team at the
Embassy began bringing Danish and American businesses together. In 2010, we had
a delegation of American companies come, and in 2011, a delegation of Danish
companies traveled to the United States.
Now with the Green Partnership for Growth, we are carrying these exchanges
forward by joining with the Danish Government to promote more public-private
partnerships between our countries. Now the United States has three goals with
this initiative. First, we want to help create more opportunities for U.S.
companies to export their products and services to Denmark. Second, we want to
open the door to more investments by Danish companies in America, which would
have mutually beneficial, positive effects, including creating jobs in both. And
third, we want to find opportunities for Denmark and the United States to work
together to export green tech products and services throughout the world.
Now we know that energy efficiency and the development of clean energy are
going to continue to rise in importance as the world grapples with meeting the
energy needs of a growing population. So we have every confidence that this
industry will thrive well into the future, and we certainly cannot afford to
overlook its potential, not if we’re serious about creating jobs and achieving
sustainable economic growth.
So we’ve got the growth part of it figured out – if we can get the green part
of it actually figured out as well. (Laughter.) We know that we have to decrease
our greenhouse gas emissions. If we’re going to fulfill our responsibilities as
fellow inhabitants on this planet, we have to work to try to help solve the
climate crisis. And the only way to do that that is known to us is to change the
way we use energy. We need to be, we should be, more efficient and develop
cleaner energy sources. And this partnership should help us.
Now, it’s not that Denmark has the only examples. California, years ago, way
back in the 1970s, made decisions about more efficient use of electricity.
California’s population has grown in the last 30-plus years. Their output, their
gross domestic product, if you will, has certainly grown. They’ve continued to
innovate. They’ve seen new industries develop, like those in Silicon Valley,
that consume huge amounts of electricity. But their use of electricity statewide
has stayed flat, because they’ve had a good framework that was put into place
that rewarded energy efficiency and innovation.
Now, at the national level, the United States has implemented a range of
actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It’s often not well-known, because
our legislative approach in the Obama Administration was not able to pass
completely through the Congress, but the Administration has gone forward in
taking actions. And our new fuel efficiency standards are slated to be among the
most aggressive standards in the world. In March, our Environmental Protection
Agency put forth the first ever national standards for CO2 emissions
from new power plants, the largest stationary source of carbon pollution in the
United States, accounting for 40 percent of our emissions.
As the prime minister said, we’ve invested more than $90 billion in clean
energy and energy efficiency. We’re more than doubled our installed capacity of
wind and solar since 2008. And this year we launched the Climate and Clean Air
Coalition, which brings together governments, the private sector and key
organizations around the world to work toward reducing short-lived climate
pollutants, which cause more than 30 percent of near-term warming. Reducing
short-lived pollutants is an important complement to the work we must do to
reduce carbon emissions. And I’m delighted, Prime Minister, that Denmark has
agreed to join the Climate and Clean Air Coalition.
So this Green Partnership for Growth exemplifies what we call a win-win. As
part of our commitment, our countries are going to look for opportunities to
make our governments greener. The Danish minister for defense recently returned
from a trip to the United States, after having met with officials at the U.S.
Department of Defense to discuss ways to make our militaries more energy
efficient. We think this is a quite promising area of collaboration.
So we’re looking forward to continuing these conversations, to keep
identifying new ways of working together to share our knowledge, increasing
bilateral trade and investment. And I want to thank Denmark for agreeing to host
the next meeting of this partnership this fall in Copenhagen. And I really
admire Denmark’s leadership in creating the Global Green Growth Forum, which is
an innovative platform to encourage leaders to do exactly what we’re doing here
today to work across sometimes the gaps that divide us between government and
the private sector, academia, the not-for-profit civil society, to work toward
the same goal.
Thanks to everyone here for being part of what is among the most
consequential work we can do together. We have to do this work; there is no
doubt about it. As I am sure you are aware, we still have something of a
political debate going on in my country, and it is quite remarkable that we
still have a hard core of people who refuse to accept either the science or the
responsibility that goes along with the science. But I can assure you that
despite that, we have continued to move forward, and not only at the
governmental level but equally, if not more importantly, at the private sector,
business-driven level as well.
We have quite the argument going on back home between natural gas and coal,
and many of the utilities that a few years ago used coal, which made up 50
percent of our energy, are now moving toward natural gas. And the United States
is becoming a net energy exporter because of natural gas. And we are continuing
to make progress. It often is not in the headlines, but it is part of the trend
lines that I think in many ways are more important and actually stand the test
Every day when I look at the news, of course I look at the headlines. But I
try to find those stories that are sometimes buried that are going to really
affect our lives today, tomorrow, far into the future, even going on to
generations. And this commitment that Denmark has made and exemplified to clean
energy and energy efficiency is certainly one of those, and we are very proud to
be your partner.
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