media critics have labelled the Bali COP as talks with a tan. However, having attended the last five COP sessions, for me Bali was effective. A two-year roadmap was elaborated, providing negotiating tracks for all countries to respond to the climate challenge.
Of course it is a pity that we have to admit that there is no global binding target yet and we still are lonely riders. But at least there is a theoretical possibility that within two years we will have a wider front than only one quarter of the emitters.
Not long after the Bali results, some hopefuls already raised the question as to whether this now automatically means that the front is wide enough for the 30% reductions, as was agreed in the March summit provided that the EU is not acting alone.
The answer, however, is: not quite yet. This is not only for economical but also for environmental reasons. For the EU, it is politically important to take the lead, hoping that the others will follow, but our unilateral effort which it still is reduces our competitiveness in global markets giving the advantage to the polluter.
This is called carbon leakage, as I have emphasised many times. The global capital will simply move to where there is no cost for emitting CO2. A pollution shift is not a pollution cut.
A unilateral climate policy hits the energy and employment intensive industries hardest so the polluter-pays principle becomes a polluter-wins or polluter-relocates policy. Luckily the Commission has understood this risk, as you, Commissioner Dimas, just very clearly indicated, and I thank you for that. As Commissioner Verheugen said recently, when describing the dangers of one-sided reductions: We are exporting pollution and importing unemployment. Is that not stupid?
He is right. Therefore we must devise a truly global-market-based mechanism and I believe that balancing this triangular dilemma of energy supply, environmental sensitivity and retaining globally competitive industries to employ our workforce is the key priority for a recently published climate package.