Speech by President von der Leyen at the High-level Conference ‘Investing in climate action: The Make-or-Break Decade’

© European Union, 2021, Source: EC - Audiovisual Service, Ursula von der Leyen© European Union, 2021, Source: EC - Audiovisual Service, Ursula von der Leyen

Yesterday afternoon, the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen delivered a speech at the Opening of the High-level Conference ‘Investing in climate action: The Make-or-Break Decade’, in cooperation with the European Investment Bank, via videoconference. President von der Leyen underlined that “the next ten years must be a turning point” in terms of global emissions: “Today, global emissions are still rising. And this has to change as a matter of urgency. We must act now before it is too late. But there is another factor that can make a difference between ‘make or break’. It is how we think about climate action. Climate action is not only a necessity. It is also the greatest economic opportunity of our time.” The President spoke about the new needs but also new opportunities this transformation represents. Europe stands ready to be the driver of this change. She outlined three crucial tasks to tackle in the immediate future: “First, we must ensure the quality of our investment. We should try and maximise the impact of every euro we spend, in terms of environmental impact, but also of job creation and innovation. Second, we must work to mobilise as much private investment as possible. We need an ‘investment revolution’ that goes well beyond the public sector to catch the green opportunities of the 2020s. And third, we must look beyond Europe’s borders, too. We must explore new forms of global cooperation on green finance, towards a climate-friendly economy. Europe will be the first climate neutral continent, but we do not want it to be the only one.” Looking ahead, the President closed her speech by saying: “I want this decade to be the Roaring Twenties of climate action and climate investment. Europe must lead this change. It is our last chance to stop climate change. And it is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to become global leaders in the economy of the future.” The European Green Deal is our roadmap towards climate neutrality and new growth strategy. €280 billion from NextGenerationEU will finance climate action. The full speech is available here, and you can watch it here. Executive Vice-Presidents Timmermans and Dombrovskis, and Commissioner McGuinness also gave speeches at the conference.