Minister Mansveld: every country needed to tackle climate change worldwide

Every country should make an effort to combat climate change. It is vital that all countries participate in the new climate agreement. The agreement should therefore allow room for different ambitions and for national approaches. So said Wilma Mansveld, Minister of the Environment, at the UN Climate Change Conference in Warsaw today.

At this summit, the UN member states aim to lay the foundations for a new climate agreement that will be concluded in 2015 and go into effect in 2020.

Prevention

According to Ms Mansveld, next year, the countries should indicate how they are reducing their greenhouse gas emissions. “This is ambitious but not impossible.” To prevent far-reaching climate change, at the European level, the Netherlands supports a reduction of a minimum of 40 percent in 2030.

Ms Mansveld called on the countries to quickly reach agreement on the banning of  hydrofluorocarbons, or ‘super greenhouse gases’, that are used in cooling installations for example. This would result in an additional reduction in greenhouse gases by 2020. “As an international community, we should work together towards a sustainable, low-carbon, climate resistant world. There is growing awareness that we need to take global action. Business as usual is not an option,” according to the State Secretary.

Adaptation

Ms Mansveld believes that developing and developed countries need to adapt to the consequences of climate change. “In this way we can limit our vulnerability.’’  Adaptation means more than just building dikes as protection against flooding. ''Countries need to become climate-resistant. We should make society, the economy and ecosystems more resilient.”

The climate agreement should support individual countries in achieving this, according to Ms Mansveld. This can be done by sharing knowledge on climate change adaptation, for example. Countries can then map their risks and how these risks can be reduced. The Netherlands and the Dutch business community can lend support to other countries in this regard.

The Netherlands believes that climate policy is not only necessary to combat global warming, but also offers opportunities for economic growth, employment and prosperity through sustainable innovations.

In her speech, the Minister quoted Ralien Bekkers, Dutch UN Youth Ambassador for Sustainable Development: “’The future will be whatever we make it, and we’ll make it together.’’ According to Ms Mansveld, the key to a climate resistant society lies in society itself. Government, the business community and the public at large can all take action to combat climate change: “We are all part of the solution.’’