Statement by Minister Lidegaard (Denmark)

Martin Lidegaard, Danish Minister of Climate, Energy and Building

Speech at SARi Launch – 7 December 2011

Dear Minister Peters, dear Minister Davies, dear colleagues, ladies and gentleman. I am indeed very pleased that Denmark is a partner in SARi. And after I’ve heard your two speeches, I’m even more happy.

Especially, I think, your gender perspective, Minister Peters is very inspiring. It is a fantastic job to be the energy minister. But I have to say that the only bad thing, is that 90% of the sector consists of men, at least in Denmark. And I will take inspiration with me home to try to change that.

As you all know, we have to transform our energy sectors from conventional energy to renewable energy and higher levels of energy efficiency because we have to address three different crises: the climate crisis, the financial crisis and the resource crisis. And the big question, of course, is how do we facilitate the transition into a low-carbon future?

In the search for answers for that question, the Danish government has launched the Global Green Growth Forum which aims at promoting public-private partnerships, private investments in a green future, identifying paths that can accelerate the global transition to sustainable economic growth.

SARi and 3GF, as we call our initiative, are very much alike and both are important initiatives, concrete example of transition vehicles. For the same reason, we were very pleased to have South African Deputy Minister Ms. Thandi Tobias-Pokolo present SARi at the first Global Green Growth Forum in Copenhagen in October this year.

I believe that the dissemination of renewable energy in South Africa, through SARi and otherwise, can be a catalyst for continued economic growth and job creation in your country and a torch for others who are searching for light in the tunnel of transition to a low-carbon future. Denmark, with South Africa, wish to lead by example and by way of our national case prove that this transition is not only possible, but also a very good deal in economic terms.

The prices of all resources on the global markets are increasing. That goes for oil, coal, gas, water, bio-mass and food. It is good business to be more resource-efficient. To provide clean, cheap and safe energy is a pre-condition to promote development and to promote green growth. In Denmark, we get 20% of our electricity from wind and almost 10% of our exports are clean technology based but much more must be done if we are to stay ahead of the curve. That’s why we in Denmark have set a new goal of reducing national emissions by 40% in 2020 compared to 1990 and we also want to provide 50% of electricity from wind in 2020. Our long-term goals are to shift the entire energy system to renewable energy by 2035 and to phase out oil, gas and coal entirely by 2050.

Where there is a will, there is a way. The people of South Africa know this truth better than anyone. My generation intensively followed South Africa’s transformation through peaceful negotiations. The successful birth of a democratic South Africa became a role model for corporate resolutions in my generation. I believe that the world will also soon be able to look to South Africa for models and policies for transforming their society to a green and prosperous future. Today’s announcement of the winners of the first renewable energy procurement clearly shows that South Africa walks the talk. Congratulations and thank you.