Pierre Calame: Side-event COP 21- Speech Circular Economy Session - 中欧社会论坛 - China Europa Forum

Pierre Calame: Side-event COP 21- Speech Circular Economy Session

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Dear Friends,

I am moved by what I have heard, for two reasons.

The first is the importance you place on the circular economy. In the context of cooperation that our Charles Léopold Mayer Foundation has developed with China, in 1997 I decided to translate Suren Erkman’s book "Towards an industrial ecology" into Chinese. This book, from what I know, was one of the references used by the Chinese Government to introduce the concept of circular economy. As often happens China has gone faster and further in this direction as Europe, from where the first ideas emanated. It is almost 20 years since 1997 - an illustration of the importance of the length of time required by two societies in order to build intellectual and human exchanges, and learn to address their challenges jointly.

I am moved for a second reason. What I heard throughout the afternoon shows tremendous momentum based on the awareness of the need to think differently about our world. This is not primarily a state momentum but a surge of businesses, cities and civil societies.

The question we must ask ourselves today, and which is the next horizon for the China-Europa Forum, is the following: Is it enough, this wonderful momentum? My guess is that it is not. Our official delegations have begun the final stage of negotiations to reach an agreement in Paris. You all know, however, that on the one hand the current voluntary commitments of states do not allow us to remain within the global warming limit of 2° to which the international community has formally engaged, and on the other hand, with international law as it is, whatever the speeches we hear the states will not be legally bound to keep their word. Together we must continue these rich exchanges. We must be able, and those who are in this room are in a position to do so, to promote fundamental changes in international regulations. I propose three courses:

  • We must move towards a Universal declaration of human responsibilities. Many courts already consider that the commitments shown by companies to social and environmental responsibilities are enforceable. We need to go in that direction for states too, for cities and for all other stakeholders;
  • The current carbon emission control system does not allow us to achieve the objective of limiting temperature increases. We must work towards global quotas allocated to each country. This includes embodied energy - that is to say, the energy which is not seen because it is the energy required to produce and transport the goods and services that we consume;
  • The dialogue between Chinese and European companies is essential. They play a major role in global production and consumption chains, but international trade agreements, such as the World Trade Organisation, are not at all based on the promotion of sustainable supply chains. This is what European and Chinese companies should now collectively promote.

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