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The Warsaw Voice » Other » November 18, 2009
Denmark in Poland
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Campaigning for the Climate
November 18, 2009    wersja polska »
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Denmark in December will follow in Poland's COP14 footsteps and host the COP15 Climate Change Conference 2009. After Bali and Poznań, Copenhagen should be the final station on the long road to a new agreement to combat global warming. "Now is time for action", says Danish Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen.

Danish ambassador to Poland Hans Michael Kofoed-Hansen talks to Ewa Hancock.

What does the Danish government hope the United Nations COP15 Climate Conference in Copenhagen will achieve?
Denmark-and the entire international community-is calling for a global deal to meet the climate change challenge now.

The Copenhagen Agreement should be ambitious; it should be politically binding and it should be concrete. It should commit the parties globally to verifiable reductions of CO2 emissions and to action plans. It must also provide the framework for financial assistance towards mitigation and adaptation efforts in the poorest and most vulnerable countries.

There is an increased sense of urgency and openness in the global climate discussion. There is agreement to limit global warming to 2 degrees Centigrade, as recommended by international science. Copenhagen should lock in this determination to act now and seek commitments for immediate implementation.

All the key components of a deal can be achieved in Copenhagen. The Danish government feels an exceptional responsibility to-with the UN and the parties-broker the agreement by invoking political leaders to fully engage and commit their nations.

What are the benefits of the Climate Change Agreement?
An agreement now will enable the global community to focus on developing and transforming our economies and societies into less dependence on fossil energy.

A global Climate Change Agreement meeting the requirements I just mentioned will benefit firstly our physical environment; it will do good for our energy supply security by energy saving and use of renewable energy; sustain the global economy, as it will help us to recover faster from the present economic crises by creating new jobs and innovative smart technologies; and finally, it will benefit our general global security, by hopefully preventing conflicts which might occur due to growing scarcity of resources, food and water supply and migration.

Furthermore, if we don't act now the cost and the necessary efforts next year or later will only grow and the burdens on the next generation become even bigger. Governments, industries and populations must act together. Luckily, there is a fast growing realization among them all.

Denmark is one of the most energy-efficient countries in the world. How are you helping Poland to improve energy efficiency?
Denmark, the embassy and Danish companies are active in informing Polish authorities, Polish industry and the public about the huge benefits of improving energy efficiency in buildings and in production. Denmark has had very positive results from a constantly more effective use of energy. Over the last 35 years we accomplished accumulated economic growth of 80 percent without increasing our energy consumption.

Danish companies producing in Poland, such as Danfoss, Velux and Rockwool, are all helping to illustrate to the Polish public and to the building industry the potential gains and advantages from using the proven methods and technology of better energy efficiency.

Over 40 percent of energy is used in private household as electricity and for heating. By improving the buildings you can secure easy financial savings and reductions in CO2 emission.

We also work with Polish central ministries, agencies and local authorities to raise awareness of energy efficiency. The embassy, through annual "Branding Energy" campaigns, promotes the use of renewable energy sources and improved energy efficiency in cooperation with the Polish Economy Ministry and the Danish Energy Agency.

With our various "Branding Energy" partners who include the Danish Velux, Rockwool and Danfoss, we organize seminars and workshops in Poland, publish factual information and invite Polish media to visit real-life energy projects and show-cases in Denmark. Most of the technology and initiatives to minimize emissions of CO2 by improving energy efficiency are existing "off-the-shelf" technologies-not something we have to wait for. Next year we shall emphasize the newest Green & Smart IT systems for better energy management and saving.

Ahead of COP15 in Denmark we have been inviting groups of visitors from public life, industry and the media on so-called Energy Tours in Denmark. A number of Poles have already participated. The Energy Tours will continue in 2010 and the embassy encourages further Polish participation.

What is the COP15 Climate Scholarship?
The COP15 Climate Scholarship project was launched in February 2009. Eleven highly qualified students, mainly from less developed countries, have been awarded full scholarships to pursue master degree studies in climate change at universities in Denmark.

The costs are covered by money saved by suspending the tradition of international conferences giving all conference participants a so-called conference kit with different gift items from the host nation. One can imagine the costs of 15,000 such gift kits. And in particular, of how much might end up in garbage bins at the conference venue or at hotels and airports upon departure.

To reduce this environmental impact and in order do something for the good of the climate, the Danish government at an early stage decided not to distribute any gifts but to spend the money saved on launching the COP15 Climate Scholarship project.

In fact, the decision sparked many positive reactions from the national delegations who will not receive any gifts at COP15. In total 850 students answered the call for scholarship applications. The 11 successful climate scholars, from 11 different nations, were all nominated based on their academic achievements.

What is www.KlimaUndervisning.dk?
The short answer is a climate education homepage.

The decision to use the saved COP15 gift-kits money to support educational activities is fully in line with the Danish focus on the importance of education in combating climate change. Under the title "Climate Education 2009" the Danish ministry of education has made special efforts to encourage students, teachers and schools to include climate in the curriculum for 2009 and beyond.

One of the initiatives under Climate Education 2009 for primary and secondary schools, and for youth and adult education programs, is an internet-based national database with educational tools and a networking platform for climate teachers and climate facilitators to be used for general teaching, seminars, staff meetings at work places and so on- www.KlimaUndervisning.dk. The homepage is based on the Danish learning perspective, focusing on student participation and learning as a lifelong activity and part of the democratic process.

Another initiative is an international climate teaching site which provides inspiration and some tools for teachers the world over to think of ways of including climate issues in their teaching. School classes in Denmark and abroad are encouraged to cooperate across frontiers as climate change is a global challenge.

Please visit www.teacherscop.15.dk
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