“The world needs a climate agreement more than ever. Let us turn Durban into a new beginning”, Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg told the UN Climate Convention in South Africa on 7 December.
Mr Stoltenberg delivered Norway’s official statement at the Convention’s high-level session. He also took part in a seminar on financing efforts to address climate change, together with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, South African President Jacob Zuma and Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi.
In his statement Mr Stoltenberg warned that the situation is now developing in the wrong direction. Emissions are higher than ever, and are increasing rapidly. “We cannot afford to fail in our efforts to reach a global climate agreement”, he said.
Mr Stoltenberg underlined that there are positive signs. A number of countries are now carrying out national climate efforts. Australia has introduced a carbon tax, China is testing emission trading systems and Brazil is reducing deforestation.
“But the global climate challenge can only be met if all major emission countries commit themselves to binding reductions”, Stoltenberg said.
The climate change negotiations in Durban have been going on since 28 November. There are major disagreements and tensions during these last days of the Convention. Government ministers have been negotiating since 6 December, and have started discussing how to meet the challenge of prolonging the Kyoto Protocol while at the same time initiating a process towards a new agreement encompassing all countries.
Together with South Africa and Mexico, Norway has led the work to establish the Green Climate Fund, which it is hoped will be adopted by the Durban Climate Convention. The fund is one of the central topics in the on-going negotiations.
During the high-level session on financing efforts to address climate change, Mr Stoltenberg, Mr Ban Ki Moon and other participants underlined the importance of establishing the Green Climate Fund for developing countries.
“A good system for financing efforts to address climate change is necessary in order to create trust between developed and developing countries, said Mr Stoltenberg.