Norway’s pledge boosts climate fund

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The Norwegian government announced Friday that it will donate NOK 1.6 billion (USD 230 million) over the next four years to the Green Climate Fund, set up through the UN to help halt climate change. Foreign Minister Børge Brende claimed Norway’s donation should ensure that the fund meets its goal of raising USD 10 billion to invest in developing countries’ efforts to cut their carbon emissions.

Foreign Minister Børge Brende, Prime Minister Erna Solberg and Environment Minister Tine Sundtoft have pledged more money to fight climate change, and hope it will help secure a new global climate agreement at the next UN climate summit in Paris next year. They're shown here at the UN in New York earlier this autumn. PHOTO: Utenriksdepartement/Veslemøy Lothe Salvesen

Foreign Minister Børge Brende, Prime Minister Erna Solberg and Environment Minister Tine Sundtoft have pledged more money to fight climate change, and hope it will help secure a new global climate agreement at the next UN climate summit in Paris next year. They’re shown here at the UN in New York earlier this autumn. PHOTO: Utenriksdepartement/Veslemøy Lothe Salvesen

The Norwegian donation, which follows a commitment by Spain to donate EUR 120 million to the fund, raises the fund’s collective international pledges to USD 9.95 billion. “The Green Climate Fund has great potential,” Brende said, “and can play a decisive role in efforts to achieve a global climate agreement (at the next UN climate summit) in Paris in 2015.”

The donation is a result of state budget negotiations between Norway’s conservative government coalition and its two support parties in Parliament, the Christian Democrats and the Liberals, both of which pushed for an increase in Norway’s commitment to fighting climate change.

Brende acknowledged that global climate change is “one of the biggest challenges we face in the coming years.” Norway contributes to climate change through its oil and gas industry and has vowed to cut carbon emissions at home while it remains active in financing emission cuts elsewhere in the world. Brende claimed the goal now is for the Green Climate Fund to be “a main channel for financing climate measures in developing countries,” both within the areas of emission cuts and other measures that can help countries adapt to emission cuts. “That’s important to ensure sustainable economic growth and development in poor countries,” Brende said.

He and Norway’s environment minister, Tine Sundtoft, will work towards achieving an international climate agreement next year and believe Norway’s donation will help push negotiations in the right direction.

“Norway plays a leading role in climate financing internationally,” Brende said, adding, however, that there’s a “common global responsibility” to mobilize more funding to measures to halt climate change. The US  donated USD 3 billion and Japan USD 1.5 billion, with a total of 21 countries pledging up to UDS 9.3 million at the South Korea-based fund’s first “Pledging Conference” last month. Canada later followed with a pledge of CAD 300 million, before the pledges were made by Spain and Norway.

Brende said he hopes the pledge from Norway will stimulate other countries to provide the last USD 50 million needed for the Green Climate Fund to meet its initial goals, with climate projects due to start being funded next year. The fund ultimately hopes to raise USD 100 billion by 2020.

newsinenglish.no/Nina Berglund