The potential ravages of climate change may be so severe that they nullify development efforts in poor countries. Millions of people in Sub-Saharan Africa alone could die of diseases directly attributable to climate change. Progress that has already been achieved could be sent spinning into reverse. Climate change may seriously undermine our efforts to deliver on the Millennium Development Goals.
We must make sure that the steps we take to deal with poverty and with climate change are mutually reinforcing. The world cannot choose between development and environment.
Developing economies have a right to develop. To do so, they will require more energy. But the goal must be economic growth without growth in emissions.
This will require an increased emphasis on renewable energy and energy efficiency. But at the same time, we must be realistic. Thirty, forty, perhaps as much as fifty years from now, the global energy mix will probably still be dominated by fossil fuels.
Thus, even with major technological breakthroughs in renewables, it is vital to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the production and use of fossil fuels.
Carbon capture and storage (CCS) is one of the most promising technologies in this context.
According to the International Energy Agency, CCS could ensure about 20% of the global reductions in emissions that we must achieve by 2050. This is about the same proportion as can be expected from renewable energy. In other words, if CCS is developed and deployed worldwide, it could make a key contribution to combating climate change. It is an option we cannot leave untried.
Norway has embarked on an ambitious CCS programme. We are one of the few countries that already has significant practical experience of carbon storage. Within a few years, we aim to operate a full-scale CCS facility.
However, worldwide deployment of CCS can only be achieved through international cooperation. The developed world has a special responsibility for developing this technology. And for making it affordable. Globally affordable. We must create a financial framework that makes it commercially attractive to develop and invest in CCS worldwide.
We know that deforestation and forest degradation account for just under 20% of global greenhouse gas emissions. We also know that action to stop deforestation can provide quick and relatively cost-effective emission reductions.
This was why Norway announced a major initiative to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in Bali last December.
Norway will allocate substantial funding for this initiative – up to 500 million USD per year. We see this as a good investment in combating climate change. Potentially one of the very best. We are pleased to report that support for specific activities under this initiative is rapidly materialising.
According to the IPCC, global emissions must be reduced by 50–85% from 2000 to 2050. And – an even more challenging prospect – they must peak no later than 2015. It is unlikely that we can achieve these goals without rapid action to significantly reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries.
And this action must be additional to, not a substitute for, deep cuts in developed countries’ emissions.
In our view, emissions from deforestation and forest degradation should be included in the new global agreement under the UN Convention on Climate Change that we hope will be concluded in Copenhagen in 2009.
Norway welcomes the establishment of the UN REDD programme by UNEP, UNDP, and FAO to ensure that the UN "delivers as one" in this field. We have therefore agreed to provide full funding for the first phase of this programme.
We also welcome the establishment of the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility hosted by the World Bank and the development of the Forest Investment Program.
In Norway’s view, a coordinated international support structure should make the best possible use of the expertise and capacity of the UN and the World Bank It is therefore vital for these organisations to work closely together and make use of their respective comparative advantages.
Norway is pleased to observe that other nations are increasingly supporting these important endeavours. However, there is a risk of proliferation of uncoordinated activities. We would therefore like to underline the importance of closely coordinated international support for tropical countries in their efforts to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation.
There are close links between efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and forest degradation and the sustainable management of natural resources and biological diversity. Biodiversity provides essential ecosystem services such as food production, water provision, building materials and medicines. Biodiversity is truly the wealth of the poor. But it is being threatened by climate change. The Conference of the Parties of the Convention on Biological Diversity in Bonn in May identified the close links between the biodiversity and climate change agendas.
Another important link is that between climate change and a higher frequency of natural disasters like drought, flooding and hurricanes. Climate change adaptation measures must be integrated with disaster risk reduction in our sustainable development efforts.
In his remarks to the recent Ministerial Meeting on Reducing Disaster Risks in a Changing Climate, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged us to champion disaster risk reduction as a first-line defence in adapting to climate change.
We should heed his call.