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Full text of Gordon Brown's speech at COP15 climate change conference

Dear all, here is the full text of the speech Prime Minister Gordon Brown of the United Kingdom gave just now at the COP15 climate change conference in Copenhagen.

I come to this the largest ever global conference facing the greatest global challenge of our time to appeal to you to summon up the highest level of ambition and will.

And the success of our endeavours depends on us forging a new alliance, the first global alliance of 192 – not one bloc against another, not rich against poor – but a new alliance for the preservation of our planet.

Scientific truths know no boundaries of ideology or politics:

And no one can honestly deny that without common action rising sea levels could wipe whole nations from the map.

And without common action extreme temperatures will create a new generation of poor with climate change refugees driven from their homes by drought, climate change evacuees fleeing the threat of drowning, the climate change hungry desperate for lack of food.

Hurricanes, floods, typhoons and droughts that were once all regarded as the acts of an invisible god are now revealed to be also the visible acts of man.

And I say to this conference: informed by science, moved by conscience, inspired by common purpose we, the leaders of this fragile world, must affirm: we will not condemn millions to injustice without remedy, to sorrow without hope, to deprivation without end.

The task of politics is to overcome obstacles even when people say they are too formidable.

And the task of statesmanship is to make the essential possible, to make ideals real even when critics tell you they are impractical and unachievable.

My talks this week convince me that while the challenges we face are difficult and testing, there is no insuperable barrier of finance, no inevitable deficit of political will, no insurmountable wall of division that need prevent us from rising to the needed common purpose and - on the following plan - reaching agreement now.

A long term goal of a global temperature increase by 2050 of ‘no more than 2 degrees’.

On the way to an emissions cut of at least 80 per cent by 2050, all developed countries move to their highest possible level of ambition for 2020.

In recognition of their common but differentiated responsibilities, developing countries commit to nationally appropriate mitigation actions at their highest possible level of ambition, achieving a significant reduction from business as usual and standing behind their actions as developed countries must stand behind their emissions caps.

To make this possible, developed countries commit to immediate finance for developing countries starting from January 2010 of 10 billion dollars annually by 2012. And for long term finance by 2020 the goal of 100 billion dollars per year, to come from public and private sources, including international and national budgets, with a process to agree how such sums can be raised, including from innovative financing mechanisms, and with fair and effective arrangements for managing these flows.

And to address the gaping sorrows of the left out millions in Africa, the torment of our island states, the fear gripping the planet’s most vulnerable communities, and the urgent need to reduce rates of deforestation, we must commit to additionality in our support so that we do not force a choice between meeting the needs of the planet and meeting the millennium development goals.

For people rightly say: if we can provide the finance to save our banks from the bankers, we can, with the right financial support, save the planet from those forces that would destroy it.

Transparency in accounting for both developed and developing countries, including international discussion and without diminishing national sovereignty.

Commit to turn this agreement into a legally-binding instrument within six months to a year, as we build on the Kyoto protocol.

Friends I do not ask my country or any country to suspend its national interest but to advance it more intelligently.

For nothing matters more to any nation’s interest than the fate of the only world we have.

To the developed world I say also: environmental action is the most powerful engine of job creation in an economy urgently in need of millions of new jobs.

To the developing world I say: the technology now exists to gain the dividends of a high growth economy without incurring the damage of a high carbon economy.

And to all nations I say:

It is not enough for us to do the least we can get away with when history asks that we demand the most of ourselves.

As one of the greatest of world leaders warned at a different time of peril, ‘it is no use saying “we are doing our best”.

You have got to succeed in doing what is necessary.’

Let us demonstrate a strength of resolve equal to the greatness of our cause.

And let us prove today and tomorrow the enduring truth that is more telling than any passing setback: that what we can achieve together is far greater than whatever we can achieve unilaterally and alone.

In these few days in Copenhagen, which will be blessed or blamed for generations to come, we cannot permit the politics of narrow interest to prevent a policy for human survival.

Because for all of us and for our children there is no greater national interest than the common future of this planet.

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