Points of View

Lars Loekke Rasmussen: Prospects of Green Growth out of Economic Crisis

MAY . 14 2010

 

About the speaker : Lars Loekke Rasmussen (born May 15, 1964) is the current Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Denmark and leader of the centre-right Liberal party, Venstre. He graduated with a law degree from the University of Copenhagen in 1992. From 1990 to 1995 he worked as a self-employed consultant. He was the Interior and Health Minister from November 27, 2001 as part of Anders Fogh Rasmussen's first and second Cabinets, and Minister of Finance in Anders Fogh Rasmussen's third Cabinet from November 23, 2007. On April 5, 2009 he succeeded Anders Fogh Rasmussen as Prime Minister following Fogh Rasmussen's appointment as Secretary General of NATO. Following are the words from his speech at Peking University on April 12, 2010.

 

It is indeed a pleasure to be here today in Peking University in such beautiful surroundings. I've been looking very much forward to this. I find a Chinese proverb: A nation's treasure is in its scholars, more true than ever. Because today we need innovation, education, research and development to help us through the transition to a green economy. I firmly believe and have also seen that China can and do play a positive role in this change. China today is vastly different from the country just a few decades ago. We see it in terms of China’s role on the global stage, we see it in China’s economy, and we also see it in the Sino-Danish relationship.

 

Today, in this speech, I want to address the following issue: how can China and Denmark cooperate in order to address the dual challenge stemming from the global economic crisis and climate change.

 

On the one hand, we must continue to deal with the global economic crisis and find new ways to create sustainable growth and development. On the other hand, we must transform our societies into low-carbon economies in order to address global climate change and future energy security. This dual challenge is changing the global landscape. My answer to this dual challenge is clear. We need to cooperate in a “global green revolution” to pay the way for sustainable green global economy, and we need to act now.

 

Over the last decades globalization has profoundly transformed our world. Denmark and China have focused on the positive opportunities that globalization presents, and managed to reap the benefits. Many people predict that in a few years' time, China will become the world's leading economic power. Both our countries also recognized the challenge that globalization presents. If we are to reap the benefits of globalization, we must be able to adapt to new wants, new ideas, and new habits, and more importantly, me must be willing to cooperate. This has become even more apparent following the global economic and financial crisis.

 

I draw two important conclusions from the economic crisis. First, we need more, not less, international cooperation. In today's globalized world of interdependence, no country can counter the negative impacts of global economic crisis by acting on its own. Second, the economic crisis should be used as an opportunity to reset - so to speak - to reset our economies on the base of a new green growth. I firmly believe that the way out of the global economic crisis is the transformation of our societies into low-carbon economies, and I believe that once again international cooperation is essential to ensure such a mission.

 

Denmark and China have been strong partners in globalization. I'm confident that we will still be strong partners on the path towards green growth that would not only ensure economic development and job creation, but also combat climate change and ensure our energy supplies. And we may benefit mutually from an even closer cooperation in clean technology. The first movers of today are the winners of tomorrow, and so are the fast movers. On clean technology, Denmark is a first mover, and China is indeed a fast mover. If we join forces, and engage in close cooperation, both our nations will benefit. Eventually, we will become the leading clean tech economies of tomorrow.

 

Globally, we will see a massive increase in green investments in the years to come that has already been a huge increase but more is needed. The approach of my government is that green growth is not only good for the planet, it also good for business and the economic - it's indeed good for Danish business. Our experience demonstrates that by combining environmentally-friendly legislations, and public and private investments, we have been able to bring down CO2 emissions and at the same time provide market opportunities for our companies. I see the same process taking place in China today.

 

Ladies and Gentlemen, while the market opportunities in clean tech seem boundless, it is clear that the global competition is becoming more intense. But we actually need more, not less, cooperation; we need more, not less, exchanges and sharing of experiences to the benefit of our people and our economies. And Denmark and China are a perfect example of this. To remain at the forefront of the clean revolution, we must continue to invest innovation, education, research, and development. Cooperation between Denmark and China in the field of research and education has developed rapidly and successfully. And we will continue this important initiative which will create a broad platform for Sino-Danish knowledge-based collaboration. Bilateral cooperation on laying the groundwork for adding value to the Chinese and Danish societies through exchange of knowledge, technology and highly educated man power will also stimulate increase networking and cultural understanding which will benefit both Denmark and China in the global context marked by mutual interdependence.

 

Bilateral cooperation is not enough, however. To meet the global challenges facing us today, we need to create a stronger and more effective rule-based international framework. China's role on the global stage is strong and the world needs China to cooperate with all the responsible stakeholders in tackling regional and global issues, such as economic growth, non proliferation, poverty elimination, human rights and counter-terrorism issues, and climate change. It is our common interests that China actively contributes to addressing these issues.

 

Climate change is perhaps a clear illustration of the critical importance of concerted multilateral action to meet global challenges. The Copenhagen Accord is a major achievement in this regard. This agreement provides the fundamentals of the global framework, and reaffirms the principles established by the United Nations Framework Convention. The decision to establish technology mechanism will help countries in moving towards low-carbon societies. We shall now build on today's achievement to further strengthen international cooperation aiming to address global warming and further low-carbon growth. Much of the transition will take place in national economies, and within the national economic planning in individual countries. National governments have a key role in creating incentives and establishing the right regulatory framework for markets and companies to undertake green investments. And we look forward to continuing to work closely with China and other key countries towards creating a strong global framework.

 

Ladies and Gentlemen, let me conclude by underlining the foundation for the bilateral relations between our countries, rests on a strong historical footing. I'm proud to know that the friendship between Denmark and China goes back a long time, and I'm looking forward to broadening and deepening these ties, including economic and educational fields.

 

As I close my remarks, let me reiterate the basic point that Denmark and China, although very, very different in size and the political system, can and will benefit from close cooperation in many areas. I see the basis for strong and expanding partnership as we take on the challenges and opportunities in front of us. Green growth and combating climate change will be at the very center of our common efforts, as tomorrow's innovators and leaders, you, the youth and the students of China have a vital role to play.

 

As a testament to the friendship between Denmark and China, we have dispatched our national icon - the statue of Anderson's "Little Mermaid" to be displayed at the Danish pavilion of the 2010 Shanghai World Expo, which is a strong symbol of good cooperation and friendship between Denmark and China.

 

 

Recorded by: Lin Kun

Edited by: He Chenlu

Source: Office of International Relations