Beijing, China, 7 November 2008 - Secretary-General's message to the high-level Conference on Climate Technology Development and Technology Transfer [delivered by Sha Zukang, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs]It gives me great pleasure to send my greetings to this High-Level Conference on Climate Change, focusing on the development and transfer of technology. Let me thank the Government of the People's Republic of China for hosting, and His Excellency Premier Wen Jiabao for personally opening the proceedings. The United Nations is proud to be co-organizing this gathering on a subject that is so crucial to our efforts to address climate change, particularly in developing countries.
Climate change is the defining challenge of our time. Our actions in the weeks and months ahead will go a long way toward determining whether we will truly rise to the challenge, or bequeath to succeeding generations a problem growing ever more dire.
Over the past year, higher food and fuel prices and global financial turmoil have threatened to undermine progress in tackling climate change, and to impede further gains towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals and advancing the broader development agenda. We must not allow current difficulties to lower our expectations of what can be done, or deter us from doing what must be done. Confronted collectively and decisively, climate change offers an enormous opportunity to put all societies on the path to sustainable development.
This conference focuses rightly on the great potential of climate-friendly technology and technology transfer. With global energy demand expected to grow by 55 per cent by 2030, we need more investment in clean technology, not less. New thinking and specific measures are necessary to remove existing barriers to clean technology transfer and diffusion. Clean technologies have proven their worth again and again. Investments in clean technologies can generate jobs and growth while safeguarding the environment, in effect addressing the financial crisis and climate change at the same time.
The stakes are highest for the poorest and most vulnerable, who have done the least to contribute to the problem, and face an immense challenge in reducing their vulnerability to climate change and adapting to its impact. At the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, governments agreed to proceed according to the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities. This principle must be upheld.
Climate change demands decisive action and global solidarity. Beijing is an appropriate setting for this conference, given China's commitment to the development and use of renewable energy, energy conservation and other technologies to address climate change and promote sustainable development. It is also timely, being held just one month before the next round of climate negotiations at Poznan, Poland. I encourage you to make a strong, substantive contribution to Poznan, and strengthen the multilateralism that is needed to reach a climate agreement in Copenhagen in 2009.
I thank all the participants for their efforts to combat climate change. Please accept my best wishes for a successful conference.
Statements on 7 November 2008