Call for will to solve climate challenges

15.06.2009 08.00 | pressrelease

The world needs to agree on an ambitious climate agreement to avoid further serious climate change. That was the message from the participants at the Ny-Ålesund Symposium. The symposium is sponsored by Statkraft.

(Press release from the Norwegian Ministry of Education:) A new climate agreement must be based on what science tells us is necessary to stabilize the global climate, not only what is politically achievable. This is the message in a statement to the UN climate conference in Copenhagen later this year, made by Norwegian and international scientists, politicians and business leaders who met in Ny-Ålesund to discuss climate change and climate policies.

We expect governments to conduct thorough reviews of scientific studies and base their decisions on these facts. We are especially worried about the increased risk of a global warming exceeding two degrees. All measures must be implement to curb CO2 emissions, said the participants at the Ny-Ålesund symposium. “We see the financial crisis as an opportunity to invest in efficiency measures and low carbon technology. Governments are encouraged to spend at least one third of their stimulus packages to support green technologies and green jobs.

Climate change requires international debate and cooperation. “The Norwegian government is committed to contribute to solving the world’s climate challenges. If we are to achieve results, it is important that scientists and politicians alike assume responsibility to further the process. Likewise, we should involve experts from various fields, such as the humanist and social disciplines,” says Minister Tora Aasland. She adds that finding solutions to the climate crisis must be an interdisciplinary effort.

The statement from the Ny-Ålesund Symposium also says: ”We are deeply concerned with the slow progress on the international climate negotiations. We therefore ask the leaders of the nations with the largest emissions to come together as soon as possible and to give clear guidance for the agreement which must be reached during the Copenhagen conference in December this year.”

The statement has now been sent to the Norwegian government with an expectation that the government includes the calls from the symposium in its work leading up to the Copenhagen conference.

This is the fourth time such an symposium has been hosted on Svalbard. The purpose of the Ny-Ålesund Symposium is to discuss issues with significance for the Arctic and the northern regions and which have global repercussions, such as climate change. The symposium is organised by Kings Bay AS, in cooperation with the Ministry of Education and Research, the Ministry of the Environment, the Ministry of Trade and Industry, the Ministry of Justice and the Police and the Research Council of Norway. Statkraft is the symposium sponsor.