Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg, who’s co-leading the UN group charged with financing an international agreement to halt climate change, says there won’t be any deal struck at the next UN Climate Conference in Mexico in December. No one is willing to pick up the bill, he says.
Stoltenberg, in New York this week to participate in the UN General Assembly and several meetings tied to it, has been busy conferring with other heads of state and his co-leader on the UN climate panel Meles Zenawi of Ethiopia. They’ve all been hoping they could strike a deal at the upcoming meeting in Cancun, to make up for last December’s disappointment in Copenhagen, but Stoltenberg told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) it won’t be possible.
“Our conversations here in New York clearly show there won’t be any climate agreement in Mexico before Christmas, like many had hoped,” Stoltenberg told NRK. Among the premiers he spoke with was German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and she said she won’t sign a deal. Nor will India, Stoltenberg said.
He said many developing countries are finally able to lift millions of people out of poverty. It means their carbon emissions, though, have risen.
“And trying to tell them that now they’re supposed to restrain their economic growth, to solve an environmental problem that the wealthy countries have created for several hundred years, is very demanding,” Stoltenberg said. “That’s what’s making the climate negotiations so difficult.”
Stoltenberg was clearly disappointed. “The best we can hope for is progress in two important areas: An agreement on an end to deforestation and one on financing of climate measures,” he told NRK.
While several heads of state are reportedly canceling plans to travel to Mexico in December, Stoltenberg seems keen on going anyway. “The point is that it’s still urgent to get an agreement in place because climate change is happening,” he said.
He noted that “everyone” is in favour of climate measures, but no one wants to pay for them. He still hopes to gain support for climate financing, at least in time for the UN climate meeting in South Africa next year.