Climate change: Norway pledges $545 million to fight deforestation but more is needed, says environmentalist

Nusa Dua, Bali, 10 Dec. (AKI) - Norway has said that it will allocate 545 million US dollars to fight deforestation in developing countries for the period between 2008 and 2012. However, in an interview with Adnkronos International (AKI), Lars Haltbrekken, head of Friends of the Earth Norway said that Oslo also needs to put its own house in order.

“The commitment is very good and welcome news but, at home, Norway has not done its part in fighting global warming,” he said speaking on the sidelines of the Bali United Nations Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

According to Haltbrekken, Norway has increased its carbon emissions by 8-9 percent since 1990. The increase puts Norway way behind in its commitment under the Kyoto Protocol.

The Kyoto Protocol requires most member industrialised nations to cut emissions by at least 5 percent below their 1990 level by 2012. It, however, allows some countries, such as Norway, Australia, and Iceland, to increase their emissions but to keep their increases to a certain level.

“We were allowed to increase only by 1 percent,” said the environmentalist. “This places Norway in the very bottom group with regards to countries’ compliances with Kyoto.”

Norway pro-forest commitment was nonetheless appreciated by most observers at the UNFCC, which entered its second and crucial week on Monday.

Delegates from some 190 nations meeting in Bali aim to frame a successor to the Kyoto Protocol, whose first phase expires in 2012.

Jennifer Morgan, a senior representative of E3G-Third Generation Environmentalism, told AKI that Norway has showed the way and, hopefully, others will follow.

“This is the sort of leadership we are looking for. Norway has definitely set the pace with regards to the fight against deforestation,” she said.

The Norwegian initiative was announced on Sunday. Oslo’s allocation represents almost five percent of the estimated cost of stopping deforestation as recently presented in the Stern Review, a report on the Economics of Climate Change produced by economist Nicholas Stern for the British government last year. 

The funding is, however, said to be conditional on the establishment of adequate control mechanisms that many believe should come through a mechanism of the UN or the World Bank.

The grant was originally proposed by the Rainforest Foundation Norway and Friends of the Earth Norway in a recent letter to the Norwegian government.


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