The agreement that the world needs at COP21

State Secretary Lars Andreas Lunde's speech at the Delhi Sustainable Development Summit on 6 February 2015.

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Thank you, Chair, for this opportunity to address the distinguished ministers and delegates present on Norway’s views on the new climate agreement. 

First, allow me to say that it is a great pleasure to be back here - at the Delhi Sustainable Development Summit. The Norwegian Government puts emphasis on science-based policy-making and our host Teri is an important contributor to climate science. 

Since we met here in Delhi one year ago, science has just become clearer. The Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, IPCC, shows us that it is still possible to limit the average global temperature increase to 2 degrees Celsius. But science also shows us that we are running out of time. 

Lack of action, will result in widespread changes to the climate system. Continuing our business as usual would put our planet on track to more than 3 degrees warming. This would put ecosystems, people and societies at great risk. 

You are all familiar with the warnings from the scientists. It is obvious that we need urgent and long-term action on climate change. Therefore, the world is in strong need of an ambitious climate agreement in Paris. 

When it comes to ambitions, Norway is a champion for the 2 degree target. We want to see an overall objective in the agreement based on current goals. 

But we have also proposed an operational goal for emission reductions. Our suggestion is a global goal to achieve zero net emissions by 2050. We believe this is a clear and understandable goal. This could trigger the right understanding and the right actions in planning for low-carbon societies. I am very much looking forward to hearing your views on this. 

Three more points on our views on the new agreement: 

Firstly, we need an agreement which covers the emissions of greenhouse gases world-wide. A new agreement that only covers a small percentage of the world’s total emissions would be of little value and ultimately put us all at greater risk. Therefore, reducing emissions is our common responsibility. It is important for us to ensure that all parties to the Climate Convention is part of the new agreement. 

Secondly, we do recognize that Governments and countries have different national circumstances and therefore cannot be expected to contribute to the agreement in the exact same way. But all countries can do something. It is important to keep in mind that emission reductions also can have many co-benefits for health, environment and society. Many of the measures we can take will contribute positively to a country’s development. 

Thirdly, and as a result of the need for all parties to contribute and the different national contexts, we need to ensure a fair and just climate agreement. There must be mechanisms in place to ensure that there is finance available for mitigation and adaptation actions in poor countries. 

Norway is supportive of the Green Climate Fund and other existing mechanisms, and we will continue to work for a results-based approach. This means that financial support will be provided to partners that can present verified emission reductions. I would be happy to hear your views on this today. 

From Lima to Paris – what can we expect? A lot of work remains before the world leaders will be ready to adopt a new agreement in Paris – but the Lima Call for Climate Action is a step in the right direction. 

We live in exciting times. At the moment, Governments in all corners of the world are preparing their Intended Nationally Determined Contributions. These INDCs will be an important part of the foundation for the new climate agreement. 

We all know that there is a large gap between current commitments and the actions needed to achieve the 2 degree target. This is of great concern to us. Therefore, we are glad that the Lima meeting agreed that the new contributions will present a progression beyond the current commitments by each party. 

Norway’s Intended Nationally Determined Contribution will be presented by the end of this quarter. We are looking forward to seeing the INDCs of other countries, as these contributions will indicate how ambitious we can expect the climate agreement to be. 

The new climate agreement will be in function from 2020. But what we do between now and 2020 is also crucial. 

REDD+ and other forestry initiatives, energy and short-lived climate pollutants are among areas with great potential.  

Norway works with multiple partners to strengthen capacity in the forest sector and reduce deforestation and forest degradation. My Government has reaffirmed Norway’s strong commitment to REDD+ with the same long term goals. Our intent is to continue to finance REDD+ at least at current levels until 2020. 

Renewable energy and energy efficiency are making great strides towards closing the emission gap. Together with UNEP, Norway recently launched the 1 Gigaton Coalition to help mobilize action and help measure and report emission reductions in the energy sector. 

Reducing emissions of short lived climate pollutants, both at home and abroad, is another priority for Norway. In this way we can help provide first aid to the climate by reducing the speed of warming, while simultaneously improving people’s health and agricultural yields. 

Climate change is a serious threat, but in some regards also represents new opportunities. According to the New Climate Economy report from last year, we have the opportunity to build lasting economic growth and at the same time reduce the risk of climate change.

 Obviously, countries that take early action on climate change will also have advantages in the increasing global market for green technology. 

The Sustainable Development Goals, being developed this year, are also crucial to the climate agenda. The post-2015 agenda must be designed to build resilient societies and eradicate poverty through sustainable development. 

The SDGs and the new climate agreement must facilitate the same green transition. A transition which a third important process this year must support. Norway wants the conference on Finance for Development in Addis Ababa in July to recommend concrete actions aimed at mobilizing and optimizing all types of financial flows for sustainable development purposes. 

As I said earlier, we live in exciting times. If the world leaders succeed in Paris in December, the new climate agreement can become the most important international agreement of our time. 

Norway remains committed to this process. We look forward to working with all of you to ensure that by the end of the year we have the climate agreement the world needs. 

Thank you.