(CNSNews.com) – At a news conference in Norway Thursday, Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg lectured President Barack Obama about what he called “the most pressing challenge of our time – climate change. We need a strong political agreement in Copenhagen,” Stoltenberg said, standing side by side with the president.
Give us money, the prime minister said: “Developed countries must provide more funding for climate action in the developing world. We need money both for the short term and the long term, and we need funding both from the public and from the private sector.”
Stoltenberg praised Obama for backing a cap-and-trade system in the United States – something that “is truly in keeping with our approach here in Norway.” Capping emissions reduces emissions, Stoltenberg said, and it also produces incentives to develop new technologies.
Stoltenberg said he and Obama have agreed to work together to ensure that efforts to reduce deforestation in the Amazon – an issue that the Norwegian considers very important. Protecting the rainforest will be “an important element in a deal in Copenhagen,” he said.
Stoltenberg also said that Norway “is committed to continuing our military and civilian efforts in Afghanistan.” He said he was pleased to announce that Norway will increase its financial contribution to the Afghanistan national army and police – to a total of $110 million U.S. dollars over four years.
“We must enable Afghans to take responsibility for their own security,” Stoltenberg said. He did not say anything about Norway sending troops.
For his part, Obama called it a great honor to be in Norway. Apparently in response to criticism about his very short visit, Obama said he’d like to stay longer, but he has “a lot of work to do back in Washington, D.C., before the year is done.”
According to the British newspaper The Guardian, Obama has angered some Norwegians by failing to make some of the goodwill visits that past winners have made.
He reportedly will not attend a dinner with the Norwegian Nobel Committee, nor will he visit an exhibition in his honor at the Nobel peace center. He also has turned down a luncheon invitation from the King Harald of Norway, with whom he and Michelle are staying, the newspaper said.
U.S. cooperation with Norway spans a “broad range of issues,” Obama said, “including building stability and security in Afghanistan and the Balkans, confronting nuclear proliferation and climate change, advancing human rights, and global health.”
On climate change, Obama said the U.S. and Norway “are both strongly committed to a positive outcome.” He said the U.S. “has a done a lot of work this year to transform the way we think about energy and our use back home, and to help to move international climate negotiations forward in an effective way.”
Obama said he was very impressed with forest protection plan advanced by Norway and Brazil. “We all understand that it’s probably the most cost-effective way for us to address the issue of climate change – having an effective set of mechanisms in place to avoid further deforestation and hopefully to plant new trees.”