The environmental movement gained an international breakthrough 20 years ago, when the World Commission on Environment and Development put sustainable development onto the global agenda. Its report, Our Common Future, gave us greater insight into how important environmental resources and ecosystems are for economic growth, poverty eradication, health and gender equality.
The fact that this pioneering work was led by our former Prime Minister Gro Harlem Brundtland, makes Norway feel a particularly strong commitment to international environment issues. It is a great pleasure to welcome Dr. Brundtland back to the environmental policy arena as one of the Secretary-General’s Special Envoys for Climate Change.
This is needed. Too many have slept for too long. But over the last few months we have all woken up. The environment and climate change have moved up to the top of the agendas. Drought, storms, flood and melting ice have been our wake up call. Norway would like to thank the IPCC for the key role it has played in rousing the world’s leaders.
The threat of global warming illustrates better than anything else how the whole of humankind in the 21st century is in the same boat. What we do in the rich North will have direct consequences for people on the other side of the globe.
The global warming is a bi-product of the developed world’s wealth, but hits those who have done the least to cause it, hardest. The poorest countries’ contribution to global warming is marginal. But the very fact that they are poor also makes them less equipped to take adaptive measures.
Rich countries must take responsibility for the consequences of their own prosperity. This is why my Government has made environmental and climate change issues a key international development priority.
The fight against global warming cannot be undertaken by one country alone, but demands binding international cooperation. These global solutions can only be developed by the UN. The UN’s scientists have delivered. Now it is the UN system, and we, its member states, that must deliver!
Norway is working for a far more ambitious and binding global climate regime to follow on from the Kyoto Protocol’s first commitment period. The main task of the Bali meeting in December must be to decide on a process leading to an agreement by 2009 of a comprehensive global framework.
Norway has set ambitious climate goals. We will cut emissions of greenhouse gases by the equivalent of 30 per cent of our emissions by 2020. Norway will voluntarily strengthen its Kyoto commitment for the period up to 2012 by 10 per cent. And in the period up to 2050, Norway will undertake to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions by the equivalent of 100 per cent of our own emissions, thus making Norway a carbon neutral country.
We must increase environmental and clean energy efforts in our international development cooperation. Greater access to energy is essential for meeting the Millennium Development Goals.
Energy poverty disproportionately affects women and is a crucial obstacle not only to development, but also to poverty reduction and social progress.
In June last year, we launched our Action Plan for Environment in Development Cooperation. This spring we have renewed focus on renewable energy and launched the Initiative for Clean Energy in Developing Countries in our development programme.
Norway will do more to strengthen developing countries’ capacity to tackle climate change through sound management of natural resources. And we will promote investments in environmental technology in developing countries.
Norway will contribute with our knowledge and our technology development so that the large developing countries with rapid growing industries can avoid unsustainable growth in emissions. Norway will specifically share our knowledge on hydro power and solar energy as good environmental solutions for energy production.
We cannot deny developing countries the right to develop. Rich countries can help them to jump over the most polluting stages in the economic development.
Our common knowledge about climate change must steer our policy for energy, business development and international development cooperation. This must be the main message from CSD15.