As former European Commissioner for Climate Action and as host Minister of the 2009 UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, Connie Hedegaard has been at the sharp end of global agreements. While the Copenhagen talks ended with a breakthrough recognition of the scientific case for restraining temperature rises to no more than 2°C, the accord failed to achieve commitments to reducing emissions. The outcome frustrated many and Hedegaard has subsequently described the eight-draft, 115-country process as a ‘nightmare’. Hedegaard refused to give up.
Two years later in Durban, she made a stand against fierce opposition to push through a timetable for new negotiations, this time designed to create a global pact on emissions reductions. The 2015 UNFCCC in Paris is the culmination of that timetable and the global pact, if it is achieved, will come into force in 2020. Presiding over the European 2030 Climate and Energy Framework, which commits to a 40% reduction in emissions, Hedegaard said: “We have sent a strong signal to the rest of the world. We have now done our homework and now it’s up to other big economies to do theirs".
About the speaker
Connie Hedegaard received her Master of Arts (history and literature) from the University of Copenhagen. From 1984-1990 she was a member of the Danish Parliament for the Conservative People's Party. She decided to leave politics and become a Journalist, first at the Danish newspaper Berlingske Tidende, then from 1994-1998 she was Head of the National Radio News, DR and finally from 1998-2004 she was the Anchor for the late night news TV programme, Deadline.
From 2004 she was the Danish Minister of Environment and later Minister of Energy and Climate up until the COP 15 meeting in Copenhagen. From 2010-2014 she was the EU Commissioner for Climate Action. Since 2015 she is the Chair of the newly established KR Foundation and various other Danish and international boards.