Pressmeddelande -

Tal vid Biofuels 2008 i Brasilien

Sofia Arkelsten

Tal vid Biofuels 2008 i Brasilien
2008-11-19, Sao Paulo, Brasilien

Det talade ordet gäller.

Mr. Senator,
Members of parliament from all over the world,
It is an honor for me to be here today. I would like to thank Senator João Tenório for inviting the Swedish parliament. It is a fantastic opportunity for me to take part in this meeting and to speak as the representative of the European Union. I would also like to thank the Government of Brazil for hosting this conference.

I would like to start by showing you a picture from NASA. This is the world by day - if it was daytime everywhere at the same time. I am from Sweden up here. We are a part of Europe.

From this distance the countries of the world look pretty much the same. To see the differences more clearly we need to see what the world looks like at nighttime.
Now you see the differences. We see the lack of electricity and energy in some parts of the world. We see the bright lights in other parts that are developed and have access to energy.

We have the possibility to change this picture and make it sparkly all over.

As you are all aware, these are the basic principles for changing the world. And I believe that most of these are common to all of us, no matter which political party we represent. The actions we take in order to achieve this - these are what differ.

Climate change is probably one of the greatest challenges of our time. Global cooperation is necessary. Renewable energy will play a significant role in our fight against it. And this will also give us an opportunity to make poverty history.

Sweden, like Brazil, has a long history of focusing on the environment and sustainable use of bio-energy. Since the oil crisis of the 1970s, there has been a national focus on energy conservation and efficiency measures, as well as development of renewable energy, in my country. This has been strengthened by the increasing awareness of the threat of climate change.
Renewables are no longer considered an "alternative energy". They are an essential part of today's energy system and a cornerstone in solving the energy and climate challenges we face. A major challenge ahead of us is reducing oil dependence in the transport sector. Bio-energy will play a crucial part.
The use of bio-fuels for transport is currently low, but is the focus of considerable interest. The dominating bio-fuel in Sweden is ethanol. We have 5 % ethanol in all gasoline and an increasing fraction of E85. Increasing the permitted level of ethanol blended in petrol is one step, but we should also put a greater emphasis on the development of long-term solutions.
And if we are to reach the EU target of 10 per cent bio-fuels by 2020, it is imperative that we forcefully drive 2nd generation more efficient bio-fuel technologies into commercial and industrial reality.

In time, it will be possible to replace fossil fuels with renewable energy. This is already happening.

But production methods are of great importance. We must not allow the production of bio-fuels to interfere with food production.

Bio-fuels offer both great possibilities and challenges.

We are concerned that the lack of consumer confidence in the sustainability of bio-fuel production will affect future growth of the demand for bio-fuels. High environmental standards are needed in order to set high international targets for renewables.

At this very moment, the European Parliament, together with the Commission and the Council, are preparing guidelines for a certification of bio-fuels. These standards are intended to be socially, economically and environmentally sustainable.

But the certification must not become a trade barrier. The production must abide by appropriate standards and counter deforestation. Sweden is actively working to prevent the criteria from constituting any obstacles to trade. We also stress that the criteria must be relevant, fair and without protectionist components. Technical development depends on this.

Free trade of sustainably-produced bio-fuels is one of our main priorities. Trade barriers cause inefficiency in the global market for agricultural goods and consequently the trade of bio-energy. Widening the agricultural market will create export possibilities for developing countries. We must create incentives for this trade in environmental friendly fuels by enabling these countries to export their produce.

Bio fuels should be produced in areas with the greatest potential. The elimination of tariffs on climate-friendly goods and bio-fuels is one way of enabling trade.

And please note that Sweden has a special agreement within the European Union to import ethanol for the purpose of bio-fuel production.

Free trade and concern for the environment are also good for the development of human rights. Trade creates ties and reduces the risk of armed conflicts. Protection of human rights has long been an important item on the political agenda. Since the first UN conference on the environment in Stockholm in 1972, we have underlined the strong link between improving the environment and achieving progress and development for countries, especially in the third world.

Agricultural subsidies cause low production and under-investments in developing countries. In addition, industrialized countries adopt export restrictions which cause a shortage in world supply of agricultural goods.

There is also an equal rights issue here. Many women in the third world are farmers. Greater freedom on the agricultural market consequently promotes gender equality.

Sweden's foreign aid policy prioritizes these issues. There is not a lack of food in the world; there is a lack of freedom. Foreign aid must always support democracy and human rights and focus on women's rights and status.

That takes us to next year and the EU Presidency in 2009.
In the fall of 2009, Sweden will chair the Council of the European Union. At the same time, the world will meet in Copenhagen and hopefully sign a new global agreement on how to combat climate change.
Sweden will play an important role in this process. Our first priority is combating climate change and reaching a global agreement in Copenhagen.The European Union will see this as one of its major tasks.

Together we are working hard to reach an international agreement at the UN Summit in Copenhagen in December 2009.
We know that a decrease of greenhouse gas emissions can be achieved without affecting economic growth. Sweden is living proof of that. Since 1990, the Swedish economy has grown by 46 per cent, while greenhouse gas emissions have been reduced by 9 per cent.
For Sweden it is especially important to address the issues of the use of flexible mechanisms, CDM-projects and reduced deforestation, which can be a very cost-efficient way of reducing emissions.

Climate change and energy supply are two of the greatest challenges of our time. But this also creates opportunities. For me, this is a question of enterprise, free trade and human rights. Transparency and certification play an important role, so that there can be no doubt that renewable energy is part of the solution. Eliminating the barriers for bio-fuels is vital to the creation of a sustainable future.

And it is our responsibility as politicians to try to change the world. Ideas matter. But people create change.

Thank you for your attention.

Sebastian Carlsson
Pressekreterare, Moderata samlingspartiet
Press Secretary, The Moderate Party
Moderaternas riksdagskansli
100 12 Stockholm

+46-8-786 44 56
+46-736 82 80 08


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