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Tony Blair on 50 days

Tony Blair stresses urgency of ambitious climate deal


Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair has said 'Copenhagen has got to be the moment where we take the practical solutions to make the deal' on climate change, in a video message for the British Embassy in Washington DC.


Speaking in an exclusive video message for the British Embassy's 100 Voices 100 Days project, Mr Blair said that the deal needs to have 'America, China, Europe and India on the same page', if it is to be successful.


Read the entire transcript


'We've got the Kyoto treaty now, in existence now. In the next few weeks, we’re going to decide at Copenhagen whether we want a new treaty to tackle climate change for the world. This is probably one of the most politically sensitive, technically complex issues that have ever come before leaders.


My view of it is very simple, that Kyoto is a treaty that is essentially about making a point, it was about raising awareness. Copenhagen has got to be the moment where we take the practical solutions to make the deal.


And that’s the deal that's going to have America, China, Europe and India on the same page. I think it can be done. I think that the change that has happened here, in America, with President Obama putting this at the forefront of his agenda, with China taking the action that they’re taking, with India now making it clear they want to part of the solution, and with Europe already setting ambitious targets for the reduction of CO2 admissions, this can be done.


But it’s got to be done, because we know that if we don't take action now we haven’t the prospect of meeting the very ambitious goal set for 2050. So there are a few weeks to go, there is a lot of political negotiation, but I hope, and believe that the will is there, the way is there, and if we combine the two we will achieve a good outcome.


One, the trouble about politics is that the problems don't come sequentially. So yes, there's a big challenge here on health care, yes, we've got the economic crisis that's still with us, and yes, there have been security issues that we have to resolve, but none of that alters the fact that climate change is happening, that the challenge is real and immediate, and that it requires action.


Because if we don’t invest now for the future, if we don't start investing in the technologies that are going to resolve this, if we don’t take actions, for example, with deforestation, on introducing new measures of energy efficiency, if we don't act now then we won’t have the capacity to be able to get to the peaking of global emissions and then reducing those emissions in the way we need to'.


Speaking about the commitments America and China must make, Tony Blair said:


'An economy like America and an economy like China are completely in different stages of development. America is a developed country. China is still developing, hundreds of millions of people living in poverty. The difference, however, can be bridged if we recognize that each has got to take obligations appropriate to its stage in development.


So what's important for America is that it beats the target President Obama has set for it and reduces its emissions back to 1990 levels by 2020, which itself is an ambitious target.


What's important for China is that it continues to take the measures on energy intensity, on increasing the amount of renewable energy, on energy efficiency that its already started to set for itself.  


And yes the peaking point for China will be further away than that for America, but provided the ambition is there for China to get there, and American delivers on what its saying it will do, then we’ve got a chance to make things work.'