The Government is following up on the Climate Agreement in the National Budget for 2013. The CO2 tax on offshore operations on the Norwegian continental shelf is being increased from 1 January, NOK 10 billion extra is being set aside for a new climate and energy fund, the Norwegian Climate and Forest Initiative's allocation is being increased to NOK 3 billion, and more money is being earmarked for public transport.
In addition, a number of other priority investments in other ministries' areas are environment-related.
"The Government presented an ambitious white paper on climate change and entered into a Climate Agreement with the Conservative party (H), the Christian Democratic Party (KrF) and the Liberal Party (V). The commitment to the environment must be followed up on in the budget and resolutions. The 2013 National Budget is a step in the right direction," says Bård Vegar Solhjell, Minister of the Environment.
The Government is going to raise the CO2 tax for the petroleum sector on the Norwegian Continental Shelf by NOK 200 per tonne from 1 January 2013. This corresponds to an emissions charge of roughly NOK 410 per tonne of CO2. It has also been proposed that a CO2 tax of NOK 50 per tonne of CO2 emitted be imposed on the fishing industry.
Climate and energy fund
It has been decided to establish a new fund for climate change mitigation, renewable energy and energy conversion on the basis of the Basic Fund for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency. The Government is going to inject NOK 10 billion into the fund in 2013, yielding a total fund capital of NOK 35 billion, and is going to increase its transfers to the Energy Fund from 2014. The Energy Fund will have a total estimated income of NOK 1,836 million in 2013.
The purpose of the focus on technology is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and provide lasting energy savings in industry by developing and implementing new technologies.
Climate-friendly building sector
It is stated in the white paper on climate change that the Government is going to tighten the energy use requirements in the building regulations to passive house standard in 2015 and to close to zero-energy standard by 2020. The Government is going to introduce measures to reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions from buildings.
In 2013 the Government is also going to continue its work on the collaboration programmes Cities of the Future, FutureBuilt and the Low-Energy Programme to increase and spread knowledge about energy requirements and energy-efficient buildings. From 2013, the Ministry of Local Government and Regional Development will take over the State's responsibility for the funding of the Low Energy Programme. Enova can use the money in the Energy Fund to finance a special subsidy scheme to replace inefficient oil-fired boilers in households and as the base load in public buildings.
The Government is going to earmark NOK 47 million to boost climate-related research in 2013. These funds are to be divided among the Ministry of Education and Research (NOK 13 million), the Ministry of the Environment (NOK 10 million), the Ministry of Fisheries and Coastal Affairs (NOK 3.5 million) and the Ministry of Agriculture and Food (NOK 3.5 million). In addition, the Ministry of Education and Research has reprioritised NOK 17 million from within the Ministry's current budget for climate-related research.
International climate efforts
The Government is increasing its investments to prevent deforestation in developing countries via the Ministry of Foreign Affairs' budget by approx. NOK 3 billion in 2013. This constitutes an increase of approx. NOK 400 million from 2012. The efforts in this area are yielding good results. Norway has helped achieve considerable reductions in emissions in Brazil and better forest management in Indonesia, Ethiopia, Guyana and Tanzania, among others.
Investments in clean energy and climate change adaptation with a special focus on food security are being increased to approx. NOK 2 billion in 2013. The purpose of climate commitments in Norway's development cooperation is twofold: both to help reduce emissions of harmful greenhouse gases and to help poor countries adapt to the changes in their climate. Norway also gives priority to helping developing countries exploit renewable energy resources (hydropower, solar energy and windpower) instead of using fossil energy sources. The Norwegian Clean Energy for Development initiative and the international energy and climate change initiative Energy+ are key components in Norway's overall policy in the area of climate change and energy.
In addition, the Government is proposing an allocation of NOK 630 million to purchase emissions credits (carbon offsets).
The transport sector
The Government is giving priority to strengthening public transport and other non-polluting transport solutions. Approx. NOK 11.4 billion has been allocated for investments, operation and maintenance of railways in Norway, an increase of some NOK 1.4 billion or 14.3 per cent from 2012. The reward scheme for improving public transport and reducing use of private cars in urban areas is receiving a NOK 262 million boost, bringing it up to NOK 673.1 million in 2013, in line with the Storting's Climate Agreement. Allocations for footpaths and cycle paths along the national road network are being increased by approx. NOK 50 million to NOK 352.1 million. Transnova has been established as a permanent body. In 2013, Transnova will support the continuing development of rapid charging for electric vehicles and climate-friendly transport of goods.
The changes in motor vehicle taxes to make them more environmentally friendly is being continued by means of an increase in both the CO2 and the NOX element in the non-recurring tax on the purchase of cars. As a result, this tax will now address both global and local pollution, in keeping with the Climate Agreement. The changes in the non-recurring tax on the purchase of cars has already led to significant reductions in the average CO2 emissions from new passenger vehicles – from 177 g/km in 2006 to 130 g/km in the period January to September 2012. Environmental differentiation of the annual user weight tax for heavy vehicles is being further developed with the introduction of a new tax class for vehicles that meet the new tighter European emissions requirements in EURO VI from 1 January 2013.