Historical archive

Statement at the High Level Segment of the UN Bali-Conference on Climate Change, 13 December 2007

Historical archive

Published under: Stoltenberg's 2nd Government

Publisher Ministry of the Environment

Mr. Erik Solheim, Minister of the Environment and International Development

The Nobel Prize awarded jointly to the IPCC and Albert Arnold (Al) Gore Jr. is a testimony to the global priority placed on tackling climate change, and the highest level of endorsement for the unparalleled work of the IPCC.

Check against delivery

The Nobel Prize awarded jointly to the IPCC and Albert Arnold (Al) Gore Jr. is a testimony to the global priority placed on tackling climate change, and the highest level of endorsement for the unparalleled work of the IPCC.

For Norway it is of great importance that the IPCC-report serves as the scientific foundation for the process on developing a future framework for emissions reductions post-2012.

We will not achieve the ultimate objective of the Convention with a global temperature increase of more than two degrees. The findings of the IPCC-report clearly demonstrate this. Some impacts are unavoidable in some regions of the world with this warming: increased mortality from heat waves, floods and drought and increased water shortage.

IPCC’s report tells us that the Arctic is warming at almost twice the global average. So, in that region, the two degrees means four. Even more alarming, recent Arctic observations indicate that the IPCC is on the conservative side, underestimating the velocity of changes.

I am especially concerned about how climate change turns out to be a reinforcing process. The melting of ice and snow from the increase in temperature will lead to further global warming and sea-level rise. We have started an accelerating process, and we do not know its outcome, neither in the region experiencing the changes, nor at a global scale.

This challenge can only be met through reinforced political action. The Nobel Peace Prize has firmly put climate change within the context of human welfare and security. Now it is up to us to come up with an overall political response

First we need shared goals, and these may have ambitions adequate to meet the challenge. 2 degrees temperature increase may prove to be too much. Thus, this upper limit can not be extended. A solid post- 2012 regime must be in place by Copenhagen, two years from now. All large emission countries – North and South - must take on responsibilities.

Then we need solutions. Mitigation and adaptation are two of the four elements of the Bali-mandate. Again I would like to cite the IPCC: Neither adaptation nor mitigation alone can avoid all climate change impacts.

As Norway’s first combined environment and international development minister, assisting poor countries adapting to climate change is at the very top of my agenda. Rich countries must take the lead – also on adaptation assistance. We have caused the problem, and should take responsibility for the consequences.

We may see it this way: Mitigation is the cure, and adaptation is the painkiller. That is why we also have to emphasise mitigation. We would like to cure the illness. That is our main goal and the main aim of this Convention. Through mitigation you reduce the need for adaptation.

Norway is fully committed to our responsibility as a developed nation to take the lead on reducing emissions, both our national emissions and globally.

Deforestation in developing countries contributes to almost one fifth of the total greenhouse gas emissions. Achieving the long term goal of keeping temperature increase within 2 degrees will depend on our ability to reduce these emissions.

As announced by our Prime Minister earlier today, Norway has decided to increase our support to halt tropical deforestation to more than 500 million USD per year. We hope other donors will follow suit.

In this respect, we also appreciate the initiative by New Zealand to establish a separate working group for considering a new protocol or another legal instrument on deforestation in developing countries. Norway will further consider this proposal.

Two sources that are often neglected are international aviation and maritime transport. I see the need for a global framework limiting the strong growth in these emissions.

We will continue to promote technology development and transfer. The IPCC describes carbon capture and storage as a key technology for CO2-mitigation because of its large potential for reductions. Broad implementation of this technology is an important option in a global strategy to achieve the long term goal of the Convention. This can be facilitated by establishment of a safe and sound framework for such projects under the clean development mechanism.

Bali is our chance to take the first step towards a global regime that responds adequately to the findings of the IPCC. I’m optimistic on the outcome of this meeting. Political will is still a renewable resource.

Thank you