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Udenrigsministerens tale ved Raisina Dialogue i Indien den 16. januar 2020

Your Excellencies.

[INTRODUKTION - scenesætter]

Thank you for the invitation to speak at this year’s Raisina Dialogue. I feel very privileged to be the first Danish Foreign Minister to do so.

Ladies and gentlemen.

This conference is committed to addressing, the most challenging issues facing the global community.

Therefore, my speech today will focus on the need for climate action.
Because climate change is a matter of global security and stability.

I want to talk to you about:

  • Climate change as a serious threat to global security and stability.
  • What the new Danish government is doing to fight climate change.
  • How Denmark and India are working together.
  • How we can expand this partnership even further.
  • And how, all of us, can provide global leadership on this vital issue.


But first, I want to paint a mental image for you. So please, imagine this:

A mouse and an elephant is walking together through the forest. Heavy footprints hit the ground with a resounding *THUMP!*.

The mouse looks up at the elephant and says: “Wow, can you hear how loud it rumbles, when we walk!?”


I’ll return to that image later. However, these days – across the globe – the forests really are rumbling. But for a very different reason.

They are rumbling with the sounds of wildfires. The Amazon. Africa. Australia.

All have seen devastating wildfires. And all in the space of just around half a year.
Climate change is visibly changing the ground beneath our feet. Endangering wildlife. Flora. Biodiversity. People’s lives, homes and basic living conditions.

Already, people are driven from their lands. Perhaps because the land is now barren. Because of rising temperatures and a lack of rain. Or the opposite. Flooding and extreme storms. Climate change has many faces.

It is happening right now. Food insecurity and serious health implications are the visible symptoms in many regions.
This again leads to displacement. Migration and conflict. Affecting the most vulnerable populations the most.

Ultimately, climate change can destabilise entire countries and regions. With serious implications for our collective and individual security.

So what does this mean in practice? It means, that global climate policy is now also security policy. And vice versa.

In much the same way as energy policy is. Dependence on imported fossil fuels is a well known security risk for any nation.

Going green. Going renewable. Means both a better future for our planet. For our children. And offers to any nation the promise of self reliance.

Failure to act on climate change, however, will eventually lead to confrontation. That is why climate is a key concern for me, as Foreign Minister.

The good news is, that many of the solutions are right in front of us.
But the answer is not to be found in the classical security toolbox.

The answer is green and the technology is here. And it requires both national and international action.

Denmark will do its part. We have a responsibility to act. We owe that to our children. We must not let the next generation inherit the problems of ours.


[Danmarks nye grønne tiltag]
Ladies and gentlemen. Denmark is an old nation - full of new ideas. We may not be the biggest country in the world.

But we have big ambitions. And we have decided to become a Global Green Super Power. We hope to share that title with India.

My government is delivering concrete actions. We have set a very ambitious target. Climate neutrality and net-zero emissions by 2050. At the latest.
Only last month, a wide political majority agreed on a new Danish Climate Bill. It includes a legally binding target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 70 per cent by 2030.

It is one of the world’s most ambitious Climate Bills. And it required a new policy perspective:
Instead of asking what is possible, we started by asking what is necessary.

This is the level of ambition needed. If we are to meet our global climate goals.


Of course, Denmark’s green transition did not start last year. The ambitious climate policies build on decades of green political consensus.

Denmark used to be dependent on fossil fuels. But after the oil crisis in the 1970s, it was clear that we needed to change.

Part of the response was to fund research into new alternative energy. Wind. Combined heat and power. Energy efficiency.
Today, Denmark has the world’s highest share of renewable energy.
Wind and solar provided over 50 % of electricity consumption in 2019.

In 2028, 100 per cent of electricity will come from renewable energy.

Since 1990, Denmark’s GDP has grown by 55 per cent. While both energy consumption and CO2 emissions have decreased.

This is The Green Danish Model. And it has strengthened both our energy security and economy.
The Danish case shows that it is possible to de-couple economic growth and energy consumption. And it has boosted our green tech industry.

Danish companies have become global market leaders in green sectors. Renewable energy. Energy efficiency. Water and environment.
More than 80 per cent of the world’s offshore wind turbines are either produced in Denmark or contain Danish components. 
At a global scale, New Climate Economy estimates the global economic benefit of the green transition to be 26 trillion US dollars from 2018 - 2030.
The need for green solutions and the market potential keeps growing, creating both business and job opportunities.
Competitiveness and sustainability can go hand in hand.


But we also have to ensure social sustainability.

That is a clear political priority to me and to the Danish government. Policies must also deliver a just transition for people, whose jobs and livelihoods are at risk.

We must ensure that climate action promotes equality. That we leave no one behind. Neither at national, nor at global level.

Therefore, Denmark has made just green transition a key priority for Danish development cooperation. Denmark will strengthen support to other countries raising their climate ambitions and spur concrete action.

Everyone has to benefit from the green transition. Sustainability is a social issue. An economic issue and a democratic issue.

If we fail here. Protests, civil unrest and instability will be the cost. If we succeed. Prosperity, social mobility and cohesion will be the reward.


[Danmark og Indiens globale lederskab]
Now, let me turn to our global responsibility. International collaboration is of the essence. No country can deal with climate change alone. 

So, what are countries like Denmark and India doing to facilitate global climate action?

Requested by the Secretary General, Denmark took leadership on energy transition for the Climate Action Summit. Together with Ethiopia.
Sustainable energy – and SDG 7 - is critical to combat climate change.
Energy accounts for 80 per cent of the global emissions. 80 per cent!

Combining renewable energy, energy efficiency and electrification, can ensure 90 per cent, of the emission reductions needed by 2050.

And create access to sustainable energy to all.

Therefore, ladies and gentlemen, we need to focus our political energy on energy.

And India – together with Sweden – has taken the lead on industry transition for the UN Climate Action Summit.
Focusing on sectors that are hard to decarbonize: heavy industry and heavy-duty transports.

Denmark has joined the Leadership Group set up by India and Sweden.
We are looking forward to share insights from the Danish Government’s Climate Partnerships with the private sector on decarbonisation of sectors.
This leads me to another way of boosting climate action. Public-private partnerships.

The private sector can contribute to climate action. With financial capital. Innovative ideas and technology solutions.

Denmark is also part of the global initiative “Partnering for Green Growth and the Global Goals”, P4G.
Promoting innovative public-private solutions for green growth and climate action.

Denmark and India are frontrunners in realising the potential of public-private partnerships as a driver for green innovation. Let’s continue to do so!
Furthermore, we can boost global climate action by strengthening bilateral cooperation and mutual exchange of knowledge.

We welcome India’s continued political leadership on green energy.
And I look forward to our future collaboration to accelerate the global green energy transition.

India has engaged ambitiously under the Paris Agreement. This shows both national and global leadership to fight climate change.

The national push of renewable energy has already generated impressive results. And making India an important market and industry hub.

India’s target of reaching 175 gigawatts of renewable energy capacity in 2022 is ambitious.

Last year, at the Climate summit in New York, honourable Prime Minister Modi stated a target of reaching 450 gigawatts of renewable energy.

Showing India will continue to take global leadership on climate change.

India has also supported the establishment of the International Solar Alliance (ISA). And is driving its impressive development.
Denmark is currently considering joining this important initiative.
India and Denmark share ambitions on promoting renewable energy implementation. We can become partners in leading a green energy movement. In line with the global targets for mitigating climate change.

India has great potential to play an important role in future energy transition. Therefore, in December 2019, Denmark supported India in becoming a strategic partner in the International Energy Agency.


We believe it is time for all countries to join forces. We have to make use of our differences in order to achieve the sustainable development goals. Considering its scale, India has to be part of the equation.

India and Denmark has already strengthened our bilateral relationship considerably in recent years. Spearheading this development has been the close cooperation on sector level.

The Government of India and the Government of Denmark are now working closely in key sectors.
Renewable Energy, Smart Cities, Water and Wastewater, Intellectual Property Rights as well as science and innovation.

Let me give a good example. In the 1990’s Denmark assisted with knowledge sharing and financing, to set up the first wind testing facilities in southern India.

Today, India has the fourth largest wind power capacity in the world. Many Danish companies have been part of this journey by entering the market, establishing manufacturing and research and development facilities.

Today, the Danish and Indian governments have a strategic sector cooperation focused on supporting the ambitious Indian targets for offshore wind in India.

Under a new government-to-government programme – the India-Denmark Energy Partnership – an Indo-Danish Centre of Excellence for Offshore Wind and Integrated Renewable Power will be established. It will serve as a hub for the development of this new promising sector in India.

On solar energy, Denmark is learning from India. The scale and pace of India’s development will provide important learning regarding solar, hybrid power plants, energy storage and mobility.


Ladies and gentlemen, our response to climate change is the challenge of our time.

We cannot negotiate with nature. And to be brutally honest. Sometimes we cannot even negotiate amongst ourselves. The countries of the world.

The recent climate conference in Madrid was a disappointment. World leaders must now show political leadership and raise ambitions.

We have to do better. And we have to act. Decisively.
It is time for us, who are willing to act, to join forces – before it is too late.
The next climate conference in Glasgow – COP26 – will be decisive.

Denmark is ready to lead the way, along with other green global super powers. Denmark and India have unique positions to elevate global climate ambitions and facilitate global action.

As green strategic partners and global climate leaders, we have an opportunity to show the world that a green transition is possible – and that we can provide change.
We need not only to deliver climate action. We must deliver climate action, that leaves no one behind and prevents future conflicts due to lack of natural resources. This is not an easy task. But it is our obligation.

Prime Minister Modi’s vision is a New India.

Ladies and gentlemen: Let us together expand that vision to a New World and make our common future green! Global stability and security depends on us.
In closing, I would like to return to the story of the mouse and the elephant.

I am confident that the imagery, of the mouse and the elephant, is not lost on our esteemed audience.

In the global fight against climate change, Denmark may be small in stature.

But as honourable Prime Minister Modi has said ”Denmark has the skills. India has the scale”. I would add, that India certainly also has skills.

So let’s walk together. Let’s forge new sustainable paths. And lets rumble the forest with large, green footprints together!

Thank you!