THE SECRETARY-GENERAL -OPENING REMARKS AT UNFCCC COP15 HIGH LEVEL SEGMENT Copenhagen, 15 December 2009 Prime Minister Rasmussen Minister Hedegard Mr. De Boer Excellencies, Ladies and gentlemen, Before we begin, let us pause to reflect on how far we have come … to this defining moment in history. Many said this day would never come. For years, skeptics called climate change a myth. The science has proved them wrong. Two years ago, they wrote off our efforts to launch a new climate negotiation. And yet, in Bali, we gave them a roadmap to Copenhagen. As recently as a month ago, they again cast doubts. “Copenhagen will fail”, the skeptics said. The road is too hard, the difficulties too large We are here today to write a different future. More than 130 heads of state and government have confirmed their presence in Copenhagen – clear proof that climate change has risen to the top of the global agenda. Every day brings new commitments to our cause – from industrialized countries, emerging economies and developing nations alike. We know what we must do. We know what the world expects. Our job, here and now, is to seal the deal … a deal in our common interest.


A deal that reduces greenhouse gas emissions …. that protects the most vulnerable … that ushers in a new era of clean development and green growth for all. Now is the time. For three years I have sought to bring world leaders to the table to solve climate change. Now they are coming. Three years of effort have come down to three days of action. Ladies and gentlemen, From my first day in office, I have spoken out about climate change. It is the defining challenge of our era. No issue is more fundamental to the global challenges we face – reducing poverty … maintaining economic growth … ensuring peace and stability. The evidence assaults us: melting ice caps, advancing deserts, rising sea levels. We have a chance … a real...