A new and more ambitious climate policy for Norway

The Norwegian Government will present a White Paper on a New Norwegian Commitment for the Period After 2020. The Paper will discuss the suggested commitment, the reasoning behind the reduction target and how it can be fulfilled.

The Norwegian government suggests that Norway by 2030 reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40 per cent compared to the 1990 level. The EU is leading the way in the efforts to combat anthropogenic climate change. The Norwegian government aims for Norway to join the EU 2030 framework for climate policies in order for Norway and the EU to jointly fulfil their climate targets.

- There is a need to transform the Norwegian society. An important reason is the need to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions in order to avoid dangerous, anthropogenic climate change. At the climate change negotiations in Paris in December, Norway and the world needs to take brave new steps towards a low-carbon economy, says Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg.

Under the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol, Norway is committed to reducing global emissions of greenhouse gases equivalent to 30 per cent of Norwegian emissions by 2020 compared to 1990. Norway will now submit to the UN its 2030 climate targets. In the White Paper about a New Norwegian Commitment for the Period After 2020, the Government will suggest a commitment that will increase the level of ambition in Norwegian climate policies.

Prime Minister Erna Solberg says: Norway will reduce emissions by at least 40 per cent by 2030. This will increase the level of ambition in Norwegian climate policies.

The Norwegian climate target will be in line with the overall target to avoid an increase in global average temperature of more than two degrees Celsius compared to pre-industrial levels.

Co-operation with the EU on a joint fullfillment
The suggested Norwegian target is in line with the EU’s climate targets. Norway will take the initiative to enter into an agreement with the EU about a joint fulfilment of the targets, based on the EU’s framework for climate policies.

- We are suggesting a reduction commitment for Norway that is equally ambitious as the EU commitment. With our suggestion there will be a need to reduce domestic emissions, requiring a will to make use of more potent climate measures in the years to come, says Minister of Climate and Environment Tine Sundtoft.

The EU has decided that the emissions that are covered by the European Emission Trading Scheme (EU ETS) are to be reduced by 43 per cent in 2030 compared to 2005. This will be achieved by gradually reducing the number of available allowances in the scheme. Approximately half of Norwegian emissions – mostly businesses – are covered by the EU ETS. Norwegian enterprises taking part in the EU ETS will therefore contribute to reducing emissions within this scheme in the same way as businesses located in other parts of the scheme.

Furthermore, in the sectors not covered by the EU ETS, the EU will reduce emissions by 30 per cent compared to 2005. This reduction will be distributed so that each Member State will need to reduce emissions by somewhere between 0 and 40 per cent. The distribution will be determined in a fair manner based on GDP per capita, adjusted for level of cost. If Norwegian commitments are to be fulfilled jointly with the EU, Norway will take on a specific emissions reduction target for the sectors not included in the EU ETS in line with the EU Member States.

The EU intends for some flexibility in the fulfilment of the reduction commitments in the sectors not included in the EU ETS, either by allowing Member States to purchase ETS allowances or by reducing emissions in other EU Member States. The level of flexibility has not yet been determined.

Norway and the EU have common interests when it comes to climate policies, we have common instruments to combat climate change and we cooperate closely in the climate change negotiations. A large part of the EU legislation on climate change and energy is already binding to Norway through the Agreement on the European Economic Area.

- The EU is our most important collaborator and partner. A joint fulfilment with the EU allows for a more efficient climate policy and will give more predictable conditions for Norwegian businesses, says Minister of Finance Siv Jensen.

An agreement with the EU would mean that Norway would not purchase UN emission reduction credits in order to fulfil the 40 per cent reduction target. Norway will nevertheless contribute greatly to reduced emissions in developing countries, for instance through our development aid policies, Norway’s International Climate and Forest Initiative and the Green Climate Fund.

- This way, our efforts in developing countries will come on top of – not in place of – emission reductions in developed countries, says Minister of Climate and Environment Tine Sundtoft.

The Norwegian government will as soon as possible start talks with the EU. If an agreement on a joint fulfilment is not reached, the Norwegian commitment to reduce emissions by 40 per cent will still apply. The target would be conditional on access to flexible mechanisms (reductions in other countries) to fulfil our commitment in the new agreement at the same level as the flexibility that will be available within the EU to the EU Member States. It is also conditional on Norway being credited for its participation in the EU ETS towards our international commitment. If an agreement on joint fulfilment with the EU is not reached, the Government will come back to Parliament with a domestic emissions reductions target for sectors not included in the EU ETS.

The White Paper will be presented on the 6th of February 2015. The Paper will discuss the suggested commitment, the reasoning behind the reduction target and how it can be fulfilled.

- The Government will come back to Parliament in relevant processes, for instance in the annual budget proposals, with measures to fulfill the targets. The Government has already introduced specific instruments and measures that will reduce domestic emissions. Our spending on railways and public transport is at a record level, we  have made it more attractive for businesses to develop new climate technologies and we are building more renewable energy, Minister of Climate and Environment Tine Sundtoft rounds off.