Norway launches country group to fight deforestation
OSLO — Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg said Tuesday he would put together a group of the world's most important rainforest countries in order to fight deforestation.
The group, initiated "as part of our efforts to reach a binding climate agreement in Mexico in 2010," will consist of "the most important rainforest countries, among them Brazil, Indonesia, Guyana, Gabon, Papua New Guinea and others," Stoltenberg said in a statement.
"Developing countries represent 17 percent of the total emission of greenhouse gases," he said, adding "efforts related to rainforests may lead to one third of the emission cuts needed by 2020."
Norway, one of the world's leading oil and gas exporters, has made the fight against deforestation one of its top climate change priorities.
The Scandinavian, non-EU country argued Tuesday that reducing deforestation may lead to the "largest, quickest and cheapest cuts in greenhouse gas emissions."
At the UN Climate summit in Copenhagen, Norway said it would unblock one billion dollars as part of a 3.5 billion dollar aid package to fight deforestation, put together by the United States, Britain, France, Australia and Japan.
The Norwegian prime minister, speaking at his bi-annual press conference, said the deal reached in Copenhagen had "great weaknesses" but that it was an "important step" in the fight against climate change.
Stoltenberg said two of the greatest weaknesses of the last-minute deal reached in Copenhagen were the lack of numbered targets for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and the absence of a legally binding agreement.
He however lauded the international consensus of world leaders to tackle climate change, the involvement of emerging countries, developed countries' financing promises and control measures.