Ladies and gentlemen,
The impact of climate change is one of the greatest challenges the world has ever faced. The global temperature is now rising at a rate never before experienced.
The consequences of the global warming could include more severe weather in the future similar to what we have seen in the U.S. during recent weeks.
But awareness is rising and solutions are being found. Climate change has become a major concern for scientists, as well as politicians and business leaders. I just came from a seminar inNew Yorkwith economic leaders from theU.S.and Sweden. Their commitment to combat climate change was quite impressive.
At the conference the question was asked whether Swedish experience can give hope. My answer was yes. Sweden has shown that it is possible to combine the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions with economic growth. The use of oil has decreased significantly while the use of bio energy has grown rapidly.
So, Sweden has made progress towards a better environment — but not fast enough. Further action is urgently needed.
By that reason the Swedish parliament has adopted a policy which is based on 16 environmental objectives for different areas. The overall goal for the policy is that, within one generation, the major environmental problems will have been solved. This means that all key measures need to be implemented by the year 2020.
However, it takes time for nature to recover, and in some cases the desired quality will not be fully achieved in the timeframe.
But most important, this policy for year 2020 forms the urgent process of reaching sustainable development, together with the social and economic dimensions. Therefore, later on today we will visit a good example of sustainable development.
I am pleased to have the opportunity to inaugurate the biogas plant “Flint Center of Energy Excellence, a joint venture project between Swedish Biogas and the city of Flint. It is an example of what can result from a successful Swedish-American cooperation on alternative energy. This is certainly gratifying since General Motors was formed exactly 100 years ago in Flint.
Tackling climate change will require leadership and commitment. I would like to thank governor Granholm in her efforts in making all this possible and I look forward to future successful co-operations betweenSwedenand the State of Michigan.