Norway urges Indonesia to continue forest protection

Norway has promised Indonesia US$ one billion in aid in order to reduce forest degradation and to help combat global warming. A similar promise has been given to Brazil.

The Norwegian Environment Minister Baard Vegar Solhjell on friday urged Indonesia and Brazil to continue with progressive policies that ensure the protection of tropical forests.

He said Indonesia had made a “big step forward” with a moratorium on forest clearance in 2011 as part of the deal with Norway, despite wide criticism that illegal logging continues.

“They (Indonesia) need to develop from this initial phase into a phase of actual reductions” of deforestation, he said. “The big money will be connected to actual results.”

Some environmentalists say Norway is poorly placed to lecture other nations about their environmental policies when it has not lived up to its own.

Solhjell said Norway was failing to meet its domestic plans for deep cuts in emissions.

He said it was impossible even to say if Norway’s emissions had peaked. “My friend who is a historian says it is easier to talk about the past than the future,” he said.

In 2011, emissions were 5.6 percent above 1990 levels at 52.7 million metric tons of carbon dioxide – the highest year so far was 2007 with 55.5 million. Norway is the world’s number eight oil exporter and number two gas exporter by pipeline.

Norway has set aside 2 billion crowns to buy carbon emissions rights under the Kyoto Protocol to meet a self-imposed goal of cutting emissions by 9 percent below 1990 levels in 2008-12, he said.

Solhjell said that Norway was planning extra measures, such as higher carbon taxes on its oil and gas industry, to meet its target of a cut in emissions to 30 percent below 1990 levels by 2020, deeper than almost any other rich nation.

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