Stoltenberg fairly ‘alone’ in Cancun

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Norway’s prime minister, Jens Stoltenberg, is the only government leader from western industrialized countries who has made the latest round of climate talks in Cancun a priority this week. He’s still hoping for some results.

Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg is an outdoorsy type who's committed to reversing climate change. He thinks polluters including Norway and its oil industry should pay for climate measures. PHOTO: Statsministerenskontor

Government leaders and heads of state from all over the world were supposed to gather for the United Nations’ climate conference. Instead only 25 were expected to show up, reports newspaper Dagsavisen, and Stoltenberg is the only one from a western country with the financial muscle to help pay for climate measures.

More than 100 government leaders took part in last year’s climate conference in Copenhagen, but its disappointing results and various problems since then apparently discouraged them from attending this time around. Not even Denmark’s own prime minister is making the trip, after hosting the event last year, nor is British Prime Minister David Cameron despite a direct invitation from this year’s Mexican hosts.

Stoltenberg, though, has been working for months to raise financing for climate measures and he’s not giving up yet. He’ll take part in negotiations in Cancun on Wednesday and Thursday, especially on the issues of finance and preservation of the rain forests. Those are the areas where the Norwegian government he leads has put the most emphasis.

The conference runs through the week but Stoltenberg needs to fly home to attend the Nobel Peace Prize ceremonies in Oslo on Friday. Expectations for results from the conference are fairly low.

“We’ll have to wait and see what comes out of Cancun,” Knut Alfsen, research director and the Cicero center for climate research, told Dagsavisen. Several developing countries want an extension of the Kyoto agreement, while the US and Japan prefer non-binding declarations to guide emissions cuts.

Norwegian authorities hope for at least partial victories on the issues of technology transfer, rain forest preservation and funding for climate measures in poor countries.

Views and News from Norway/Nina Berglund
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