Innlegg under åpningen av EU-kommisjonens Energy Sustainable Week i Brussel

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Dear Commissioner Arias Cañete. Dear Dr Birol. Distinguished guests. Dear friends of sustainable energy.

Thank you for the invitation to speak on the opening day of the Sustainable Energy week, and the Brussel launch of the IEA’s special report on energy and climate.

Two weeks ago, I had the great pleasure of welcoming commissioner Arias Cañete to Norway.

Together, we visited the Troll gas field in the North Sea. This field alone produces enough gas to meet Spain´s annual demand, and is just one illustration of the close link between Norway and the European Union in the field of energy.

Paris is now just months ahead of us. We should be ambitious.

We need a strong international agreement in Paris. This will provide the confidence needed for policy reforms, and will send clear signals to investors.

Norway has put forward an INDC (intended nationally determined contributions) with emission reductions of at least forty percent towards 2030.

By this, we seek a joint fulfillment of our commitment with the European Union.

Having listened to commissioner Arias Cañete just now and having read the new IEA report, I am glad we have a common approach and will work together towards an ambitious agreement in Paris.

We need more specific commitments than the two degree target. We need agreed measuring, reporting and accounting procedures, and we need revisions.

We cannot rest until all major economies and emitters are onboard. In this respect, the signals from the G7 meeting in Bavaria are encouraging, as was the historical climate announcement from the US and China last year.

Establishing a price on greenhouse gas emissions is long overdue. We know that it works. I will give you one example.

In 1991 Norway introduced a CO2 tax offshore. Amongst other measures, this made it economically viable for oil companies to capture CO2 and store it in a sealed reservoir thousands of meters below the seabed .

The measure is called carbon capture and storage, and it shows that putting a price on emissions works.

In Europe, we have a pricing tool in place, the EU Emission Trading System (ETS). It should continue to be our main climate policy tool, but the cap must be tight, and the system sufficiently transparent to provide the necessary incentives.

An ambitious ETS will encourage investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency. It will give incentives to substitute coal with gas, the development and use of low emission technologies, such as carbon capture and storage.

Norway is pushing deep emission cuts, and at the same time, we are a major exporter of oil and gas. And we will continue to be so for decades to come.

This is a rational approach because the globe needs less greenhouse gas emissions – for sure. But at the same time we have to cope with increasing demand for energy and secure supplies.

Fighting climate change comes at a cost. As politicians it is our job to make sure that we reach agreed targets in a cost-efficient way.

To succeed, we have to develop well-functioning and efficient energy markets. Such markets are preconditions for an effective energy and climate policy that ensures security of supply.

Stable supplies of oil and gas from Norway contributes to Europe’s energy security.

Norway is in a position to be a significant and stable provider of gas for the long run. As much as two-thirds of Norway’s gas is yet to be produced.

Replacing coal with natural gas is one of the most efficient ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Natural gas can also play an important role in providing flexibility and back-up capacity for intermittent renewable energy, like wind and solar power.

However, gas supply requires large upfront investments, and investors need predictability to develop new projects.

We should not lose track of these energy realities as we strive for an ambitious climate agreement in Paris.

Norwegian energy is more than oil and gas. We are actively pursuing energy efficiency gains, and we are developing more renewable energy. We do this, even though our electricity sector is already close to 100 per cent renewable.

In an average year, Norway generates a power surplus and is a net exporter of clean energy to Europe.

With increased production of intermittent energy – such as wind and solar energy – there is a need for flexible capacity, which Norwegian hydropower can provide.

This is why we are building new interconnectors from Norway to both Germany and the United Kingdom.

I will conclude this intervention, repeating that we need a strong and ambitious climate agreement in Paris with major economies and emitters on board.

Norway and the EU have cooperated for decades already, and let me finish by assuring you that Norway is – and will remain – an energy and climate partner for the European Union!

Dear Fatih, I am about to leave the floor to you. I would like to thank you and the IEA for your continuous effort for efficient and more sustainable and energy systems.

Yesterday you yet again presented a key publication. Your special report is a timely contribution, and I would like to thank you and your team for your efforts.

I look forward to your presentation!

Thank you for your attention!