In 2015, the international community adopted 17 sustainable development goals. One of them is to ensure universal access to modern energy.
The goals are ambitious, and they are closely connected. It is not just developing countries that are dependent on us reaching them. Climate change and environmental problems do not stop at national borders. Food shortages, conflict, extreme weather and sea level rise concern us all.
Norway is obviously not a country that will suffer consequences like many of the countries here around the table. We are doted with natural resources, clean energy and water in abundance. Maybe because of these privileges we have been given from nature’s side, the people of Norway is adamant that we shall participate and support the global efforts to reach the SDGs. One of our areas of expertise lies in renewable energy and green economic development.
In his opening speech today, we heard the Chair state that too many developed countries are not fulfilling their pledges. I cannot speak for others, but I represent a country that does honour our commitments. For many years, Norway has been a predictable and long term partner in the production of, and access to, renewable energy in developing countries. Norway has doubled our funding for these efforts over the last years.
Most of you will probably know Norway as a large fossil fuels producer and exporter. This will continue to be an important element of our economy, which might be seen as a contradiction to our other efforts.
However, access to energy is crucial for reaching almost all the SDGs. The world needs ever more energy as populations increase and economies grow: Having access to electricity means that children can do their homework after dark. Hospitals can receive women in labour during the night. Street lights can enhance safety and security. Not least, access to energy is vital for developing a modern economy that promotes value creation, growth and jobs.
Unfortunately, the energy sector today is responsible for more than 60 % of greenhouse gas emissions worldwide. If we are to have a chance of achieving our climate goals, our energy must be green. The means and expertise that Norway possesses can be put to use in order to help other countries speed up and manage their transition to greener and more sustainable growth.
An important element of Norway’s international development policy is sharing our competence and best practises. An interesting example is how we have been able to use technology from fossil fuels exploration offshore to develop clean energy solutions for wind energy. We also assist partner countries in developing legislation, introducing reforms and building institutions for the use of clean energy. Solar power, smart grids and connectivity are other Norwegian specialities.
The Chair stated in the plenary this morning that our children is not only the responsibility of the parents, but of humanity as a whole. I would like to quote the brave Swedish girl Greta Thunberg: There is no Planet B.