Budget for a greener society

Today the Government is presenting a budget for employment, activity and restructuring.

“We will pursue an aggressive policy to contribute to a green restructuring of the Norwegian economy. This is the reason we are working on a strategy for green competitive ability that will enable Norway to become a low emission society,” says Minister for Climate and Environment, Tine Sundtoft

The Ministry of Climate and Environment's budget for 2016 provides a sound basis for increased activity in the fields of climate, cleaning of polluted seabed and cultural heritage. At the same time efforts in the areas of natural diversity and outdoor recreation will continue. 

In the budget proposal for the Ministry of Climate and Environment, the Government emphasizes domestic and international climate measures, cleaning the polluted seabed in Bergen harbour (Puddefjorden) and the restoration of vessels worthy of preservation. The government is allocating NOK 524 million for the CO2 compensation scheme for industry and NOK 270 million for the purchase of climate quotas. Additional funds are also allocated for the follow-up of the biogas strategy.

In 2016 the budget proposal for the Ministry of Climate and Environment has an expenditure framework of NOK 8,892.5 million. This is a net increase of NOK 820.1 million, or 10.2 per cent compared to the final budget for 2015. The reason for the significant increase is primarily related to following up adopted policies, such as the CO2 compensation scheme for industry, the purchase of climate quotas and increased expenses for projects that have been initiated. Further, there are certain new measures, including the protection of vessels and cleaning up Bergen harbour.

Domestic climate measures

The Government proposes a number of climate measures in the budgets of various ministries. See separate press release on this. This document concerns the climate measures in the Ministry of Climate and Environment's budget.

In 2016 the Government proposes an allocation for the CO2 compensation scheme for industry of NOK 524 million. The goal of the scheme is to compensate Norwegian industry for increased electricity prices as a consequence of the EU quota system for CO2 emissions. The compensation will reduce the risk of carbon leakage and thus prevent increases in global emissions as a result of moving industry to countries with less stringent climate policies.

The Government proposes allocating NOK 28 million for climate measures in forests and marshland. NOK 15 million is allocated for pursuing the pilot scheme for forest planting. This measure is following up on the agreement on climate policy. In addition NOK 13 million is allocated for the restoration of marshland. This measure is a reinforcement of the agreement on climate policy. Measures will increase productive forest area and contribute to increased absorption and reduced emissions of greenhouse gases.

The Government proposes doubling the allocation for the pilot scheme for biogas plants from NOK 10 million to NOK 20 million. This measure is follow up of the biogas strategy. Increased allocations for biogas measures will eventually contribute to emission reductions in agriculture and the transport sector.

It is proposed to allocate NOK 6.4 million to prepare statistics of municipal greenhouse gas emissions. Through government planning guidelines, the municipalities are obliged to undertake climate and energy planning. Improved municipal statistics will make it easier for municipalities to prioritize good climate measures.

The Government will pursue an aggressive policy to contribute to a green restructuring of the Norwegian economy. The Government has therefore appointed an expert committee to develop an overarching strategy for green competitive ability. The strategy will strengthen the ability of trade and industry to compete on a global stage in an age where stronger measures are being implemented in climate policy. 

The committee's proposal will be presented in the autumn of 2016, and NOK 5.8 million has been allocated in the budget for this work. The Government aims to present a strategy for green competitive ability in 2017.

International climate action

The Government proposes increasing allocations for the purchase of UN-approved climate quotas by NOK 270 million. Quota purchases under the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) triggers investments in climate measures in developing countries and ensures that Norway will meet its climate obligation for 2020.

The Government furthers the climate and forest efforts with NOK 3 billion. It is intended that in 2016 Norway will finance around 40 million tons of CO2 in global emission reductions. In addition to the climate benefit, work on reducing deforestation contributes to sustainable development. It is likely that reduced emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries will become a part of the international climate regime that is to be adopted in Paris in December 2015.

“Norway plays an active role in the international climate negotiations. Our international climate measures, such as climate and forestry efforts, provide concrete results and encourage more countries to raise their climate policy ambitions,” Sundtoft says.

Cleaning of polluted seabed

The Government proposes increasing the allocation for cleaning polluted seabed by NOK 75 million. This will make it possible to start cleaning the seabed in Bergen harbour (Puddefjorden). Implementation is planned for 2016 and 2017. In the 2016 budget, work on cleaning the seabed in Trondheim harbour will continue.

Natural diversity and outdoor recreation

The Government proposes restructuring the compensation scheme for domesticated reindeer to a risk-based scheme. This will be based on objective criteria, and will ensure equal treatment in the grazing areas. With the new model, the size of compensation will be based on knowledge of reindeer husbandry, predators and the risk of loss.

Allocations to outdoor recreation will continue at the same high level as in 2015, when there was strengthened focus on outdoor recreation related to the 2015 Year of Outdoor Recreation. These funds will now be distributed among the permanent outdoor recreation schemes. Among other things, this means that the contribution schemes, governmental safeguarding of recreation areas and facilitation of recreation areas will be strengthened in 2016.

“Outdoor recreation can provide both better health and great natural experiences. The Government is concerned with giving outdoor recreation priority, and aims to present a new report to the Storting on outdoor recreation in the winter of 2016. This will include a number of measures and guidelines to strengthen outdoor recreation,” Sundtoft says.

The Government will continue work on surveying Norwegian nature and establishing the ecological base map, and has allocated NOK 25 million for this in the 2016 budget. Work will lead to more and better data on nature. This is important for everyone making decisions that may have an impact on nature.

In the 2016 budget proposal the Government is allocating more money for more measures in the branding and visiting strategies for Norway's national parks. The increase of NOK 6 million will be given to measures that will both strengthen protection and local value creation.

As a result of new rules on off-road motor traffic on outlying land, including the establishment of snow scooter tracks for recreational purposes, the Government proposes increasing allocations for inspection and control of off-road motor traffic on outlying land by NOK 4.2 million.

The Government's focus on forest protection will continue at the approximately the same high level as in the final 2015 budget, and comprises more than NOK 324 million in the 2016 budget. Forest protection is a measure that helps safeguard a large number of threatened species and nature types in forests.


Cultural heritage and the restoration of vessels worthy of preservation

In order to face the demanding situation in the shipyard industry, the Government proposes increasing grants for restoring vessels worthy of preservation by NOK 40 million. The selection of vessels represents a reasonable distribution both geographically and in terms of vessel type, and will contribute to meeting the 2020 target for protected vessels.

“I'm impressed by the voluntary efforts laid down in the many vessels that are worthy of preservation along our coast. This one-off allocation will contribute to more vessels achieving a better condition,” Sundtoft says.