Last week, the government of Norway presented a climate action plan to help achieve its emission reduction target agreed to under the Paris Agreement.
Minister of Climate and Environment Sveinung Rotevatn said “This climate action plan will give new momentum to Norwegian climate policy. For the first time, a government is putting forward a compelling, comprehensive plan for cutting emissions in every sector.”
The plan released on Friday shows how the oil-rich Scandinavian country will achieve its climate target and at the same time, create green growth.
“We must make sure that it pays to cut greenhouse gas emissions,” said Rotevatn.
The main emphasis of the climate action plan is on emissions that are not included in the Emissions Trading System, or non-ETS emissions. These include emissions from transport, waste, agriculture and buildings, and some emissions from industrial production and the oil and gas industry.
Prime Minister Erna Solberg said “We will cut emissions and enhance removals of CO2 in a way that transforms Norway and promotes green growth.” She added “To achieve this, we need an industrial sector that is greener, smarter and more innovative.”
The white paper also deals with the EU Emissions Trading System, which applies to the bulk of emissions from industrial production and the oil and gas industry. In addition, the action plan discusses CO2 removals and emissions in the land-use, land-use change and forestry sector.
“This action plan will enable us to exceed Norway’s assigned target from the EU for non-ETS emissions, which is 40 per cent, and we will achieve this through domestic emission cuts,”said Mr Rotevatn.
According to a press release issued by the Government of Norway, the main policy instruments in the climate action plan are taxation of greenhouse gas emissions, regulatory measures, climate-related requirements in public procurement processes, information on climate-friendly options, financial support for the development of new technology, and initiatives to promote research and innovation.
The Norwegian government intends to make greater use of climate-related requirements in public procurement processes. Requirements for zero-emission solutions will be introduced for passenger cars and small vans in 2022, and for local buses from 2025. Criteria relating to low- or zero-emission solutions will also be introduced for ferry services and high-speed passenger vessel services.
The sales volume of biofuels for road traffic will be maintained to ensure cuts in emissions from the fossil vehicles that are still in use. The Government will introduce biofuel quota obligations for off-road diesel and fuel for shipping from 2022. Vehicle taxes and other policy instruments will be designed so that they continue to provide incentives to choose zero-emission vehicles.
Enova SF is a Norwegian government enterprise responsible for promotion of environmentally friendly production and consumption of energy. Under the plan, Enova has a clearer climate profile, which the government says will allow the firm to contribute towards Norway’s emission reduction commitment for non-ETS emissions and Norway’s transition to a low-emission society.
The Solberg government will use the letter of intent it has signed with the agricultural organizations as a basis for climate-related work in this sector in the years ahead.
The white paper also announces a gradual increase in the carbon tax rate from its current level of about NOK 590 (CDN$89) to NOK 2000 (CDN$300) per tonne CO2 equivalents in 2030. This will progressively increase the cost of emitting CO2 and give stronger incentives to reduce emissions. The government’s policy is not to increase the overall level of taxation. Any tax increase will therefore be offset by reducing other taxes correspondingly.