Official visit to Brazil: Climate change and biodiversity
Ladies and gentlemen
É um prazer estar aqui no Brasil – and it is very nice to be here in Belém as well!
Thank you, Director Gabas, for your kind words and for inviting us to this great museum. It is a privilege to be in Belém, the gateway to the Amazon. I have been looking forward to this seminar.
Last time someone from my family went to the Amazon, was in 2013. My father, King Harald, fulfilled a long-held dream to visit the yanomami-indians. He has, from childhood, been fascinated by the Amazonas – and finally he experienced it. He still talks very fondly about it.
The importance of this region to the wellbeing of our planet is well known. It’s a very good opportunity for me to learn more about the unique bio-diversity of the Amazon and its role in the struggle against climate change. Global warming is real, and natural disasters due to climate change are becoming more and more frequent.
We are standing at a global crossroads. The world's population is demanding economic development, and ensuring that this takes place in a sustainable manner gives us a unique opportunity to create a green, fair, and prosperous future for all.
To find solutions, the world community needs to work together and share knowledge. Please allow me to say I few words about Norway’s climate policies.
Climate change has been an issue of concern for Norway since the late 1980s, and we have been trying to learn and improve our policy along the way.
With the best possible scientific advice as a base, Norwegian climate policy has focused on consensus-building, seeking to ensure that it has broad political support. This ensures continuity over time. Norway has an overarching goal, supported by all political parties in Parliament, to be a low emission society by 2050. This long-term vision guides the decisions of today.
The “polluter pays”-principle is a cornerstone of our climate policy. Norway introduced CO2 taxation in 1991, and was one of the first countries to do so. Today, over 80 % of our emissions are covered by carbon pricing.
Internationally, Norway is working together with Brazil and many other countries for an ambitious outcome of the upcoming climate conference in Paris. It is crucial that we achieve a new, strong climate agreement to which all the countries of the world are committed.
Norway's International Forest and Climate Initiative, launched in 2008, is ambitious. It supports efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries. It works closely with committed countries, multilateral organisations, the private sector, and civil society. The partnership which has received most attention internationally is the one we have with Brazil.
Brazil has delivered amazing results in reducing deforestation here in the Amazon forest. It has delivered the largest reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from reduced deforestation in tropical forests of any country in the world.
There is no doubt that Brazil’s efforts are extremely important for the world's climate. Equally significant are the benefits for biodiversity, vital ecosystem services and for the people living in and off the Amazon. Equally important: you have developed the experiences, the "know hows" – that other countries are now looking to for models, insights and inspiration.
Norway is very proud to be partnering with Brazil in this effort. By the end of this year, we will have fulfilled our promise to provide the Amazon Fund with 1 billion USD.
In describing out joint efforts, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, has said: “This is an outstanding example of the kind of international collaboration we need to ensure the future sustainability of our planet”.
The main lessons I draw from what Brazil and Norway are doing nationally and internationally are these: we must set ambitious goals, and we must engage in joint efforts – between countries, civil society, the scientific community and the private sector. Only then will we be able to achieve our ultimate goal: To hand this world over to the next generation in a better condition than it was handed over to us.
Again, I really appreciate being here. On arriving, I thought about something my father said when he told me about having spent time in the Amazon, in the jungle – sleeping in a hammock. He said when he was going back, he was questioning whether he was going back to sivilization or actually leaving it.