COP21: Every minute two soccer fields of rainforest is destroyed

Tale holdt av statsråd Tine Sundtofts på "Action Day" under klimaforhandlingene i Paris, 05.12.2015.

I have been lucky enough to fly over a rainforest.

 From above it looks like an endless green ocean. 

Like oceans, forests have the ability to capture and store carbon from the atmosphere. 

You might think that is not a big deal, but it is. There is more carbon stored in forests than in the world's atmosphere. 

Reducing deforestation -- while at the same time allowing forests to grow, regenerate and be replanted -- can contribute to one third of the climate change solution the next two decades. 

Yet, every minute two soccer fields of rainforest is destroyed. That is 120 soccer fields in an hour. 2880 soccer fields a day. 

This is devastating for our climate. It ruins the home of people living in the forests. It endangers and often make extinct unique plants and animals. And it disturbs the circulation of water, which the global production of food depends on. 

This cannot continue. 

It is not only a matter of ethics. It is a matter of survival. 

That is why Norway has committed to invest around 400 million dollars annually to rainforests. 

Today forests are more worth dead than alive. We must all work to change that. Most importantly, this is a development choice of tropical forest countries.

The coalition for change is growing stronger by the day. 

This COP started with seventeen heads of state and government standing up for forests. 

They promised to intensify efforts, to scale up ambition and demonstrate political leadership to protect forests. 

In addition, Germany, Norway and the United Kingdom committed at least 5 billion dollars to forest in the period up to 2020. 

Protecting forests is not easy. 

But it entails great opportunities for transitioning into a green economy. 

Citizens, Governments and businesses want economic growth.   

Today this growth comes at the cost of destroyed forests.

It does not have to be that way. 

Earlier this fall I visited the state of Mato Grosso in Brazil.

This is a province the size of Germany and France combined, with large areas of natural forests and wetlands.

It has large-scale soy and beef production, and plans for producing more. 

Still, Mato Grosso has reduced deforestation by more than 90 percent the last ten years. 

Other countries are following. 

One example is Gabon, a partner to the Central Africa Forest Initiative. 

Together we will work to ensure that Gabon's pristine forests remains intact in generations to come. 

The leadership of forest countries -- and the commitment of the international community to provide support -- is essential. In collaboration, we are responding to a common need and acting together towards a common objective. 

Together we are doing something that has not been done before. 

We are aiming for continued economic growth without destroying our forests and our planet. 

We have to succeed.

I believe we will. Together.

Thank you