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President Ilves at the UN Climate Summit: all countries must act now, together and at a global level


"Let us prove together that we do not need a fatal world-wide environmental shock to understand the gravity of climate change," told the President Toomas Hendrik Ilves, who addressed the audience in the name of Estonia at the UN Climate Summit in New York.

The Estonian Head of State stated in his address that millions of people already feel the impact of human-induced climate change – for decades, we have pursued economic growth, creating a dangerous tension between growth and environmental protection.

"Finding a balance between them is a serious challenge, as is reaching an agreement on how to achieve it. Time is working against us. Soon we shall not be able to restore the balance. Therefore, we must act, and we must do it now," President Ilves stated.

"Economic growth need not come at the expense of the environment. Economic growth need not come at the expense of the environment. Estonia has successfully combined those two goals. We have made remarkable progress since 1990: while real GDP doubled, cut our carbon dioxide emissions by half," the Head of State said.

In the last few years, Estonia has been an example for others – we have invested 400 million euros in climate change mitigation projects, more than 2 per cent of our annual GDP. We are on track, even ahead of it, with our renewables and energy efficiency commitments. We now look toward the next areas of interest; transport and resource efficiency in industry.

"Our climate policy has had significant co-benefits. Today, according to WHO, Estonia has the world's cleanest air. Renovated houses have not only saved 30% on average in CO2, they also have cut energy bills significantly," listed President Ilves.

"If a small nation with limited resources can do this, the same also should be possible for larger and wealthier countries," he added.

Secretary General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon, today summoned leaders from the public, private and third sectors from all over the world to discuss climate change and the accompanying problems.

Today's summit will provide the input to a global climate agreement, which is to be adopted at the Paris climate conference in 2015.

The Republic of Estonia is represented at the UN Climate Summit by the President, Toomas Hendrik Ilves, and the Minister of the Environment, Keit Pentus-Rosimannus.

Additional information about the UN Climate summit is available at: http://www.un.org/climatechange/summit/

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