Mr. President, ladies and gentlemen.
Montreal one year ago was the kick-off for forward-looking action.
Since Montreal, the urgent need for action has become ever more apparent.
Now we are in Africa, the continent who will suffer most from the effects of climate change.
It is the responsibility of the developed countries to assist in the necessary adaption.In the Arctic last winter the mean temperature was 8 degrees Celsius above the 30-year average. And last summer the melting of sea-ice was enormous. You could go all the way to the North Pole by boat in August and September.
Scientists did not expect this to happen until the middle of this century. What they are certain about, is that such melting of ice pushes global warming - making this a matter of global concern. This shows us that the scientific predictions are already coming through. This again underlines the urgency in taking action, both in the short and long term.
Our efforts today must be guided by the need to prevent global temperature increase above 2 degrees Celsius. This requires a major shift in consumption and production patterns, especially in developed countries, and more than 50 per cent reduction in global emissions by the mid of this century.
We need some milestones along the way to ensure that we are moving in the right direction. We must be able to demonstrate emission cuts in the order of 20 to 30 percent in the period 2020-2030, and again the developed countries must take the main responsibility. Norway is ready to take its share of the necessary cuts.
In order to achieve such long and medium term goals, we must have broader participation than today. Annex B parties represent a declining share of global emissions. In the future more Convention parties must take on responsibilities - especially the rich countries that have failed to commit so far.
Africa has done little to cause global warming. But its effects can wipe out efforts to fight poverty and improve health and food security. Adaptation in developing countries is a priority issue. We must also make CDM a means for sustainable development, also in Africa.
As stressed by the recent Stern report, the costs of no-action by far exceed the costs of emission reductions. The message is simple: Unless drastic action is taken, climate change could reduce the global economy up to 20 percent. We cannot put off taking action.
Can emission patterns be changed?
In Norway we think so. We have seen increases in our national emissions over the past 10 years. But the emissions can and must be reduced in the years to come.
The Norwegian Commission on Low Emissions recently concluded that we can turn into a low emission society by 2050, with emission reductions between 50 and 80 percent. And it does not have to very expensive - if we start right now and reduce emissions gradually.
My government is already following up the Commission's recommendations.
For Norway the energy sector is a priority area for emission reduction. The government and Statoil - the Norwegian oil and gas company - have agreed to establish the world's largest full-scale CO2 capture and storage project at the Mongstad refinery in Western Norway. It will be fully operational by the end of 2014. The implementation of such technologies is expected to contribute to emission reductions at a global scale.
We all experience the impacts of climate change, in the north as well as in the south. Now is the time to set global goals. Now is the time for global actions.
Thank you Mr. President.