1 Norway’s contribution to a new global climate agreement
According to the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), current trends in global greenhouse gas emissions will result in a temperature rise exceeding two degrees Celsius. The world risks very serious and irreversible consequences.
The global nature of climate change calls for the broadest possible cooperation by all countries. The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (afterwards referred to as the Climate Change Convention or the Convention) is the key tool for achieving international cooperation of this kind. The overall objective of the Convention is to stabilise greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system. In practical terms, this has been translated into the target of limiting global warming to below two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. Decisions adopted under the Convention in 2010 made the two-degree target the basis for the international negotiations in the time ahead. If emissions are to be reduced to a level in line with this target, all countries will need to contribute, and emissions will need to be reduced as cost-effectively as possible.
In 2011, agreement was reached under the Climate Change Convention that negotiations on a new climate agreement are to be concluded by December 2015. The intention is for the agreement to come into effect from 2020 and include all countries. To provide a basis for determining the commitments to be included in the agreement, a decision adopted under the Convention in 2013 invited all countries to submit their intended nationally determined contributions (INDCs) in the new agreement. Countries were asked to submit their INDCs by the first quarter of 2015 if ready and otherwise well in advance of the December 2015 climate change conference in Paris. The submission of INDCs by the end of the first quarter 2015 is part of the negotiation process. By 1 November 2015, the secretariat of the Convention will publish a synthesis report on the INDCs that have been submitted and their aggregate effect. This will provide a very important basis for assessing whether the Paris agreement will be sufficiently ambitious to limit global warming to below two degrees.
The purpose of the present white paper is to inform the Storting (Norwegian parliament) about Norway’s proposed contribution to international mitigation commitments for the period 2021–30. The framework for a new Norwegian emission reduction commitment was described in the 2014 Revised National Budget, which also stated that the Storting will be kept informed in an appropriate way about the process of developing the commitment.
During the first quarter of 2015, the Government will submit an independent intended nationally determined contribution (INDC) for Norway to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, including the following elements:
Norway will conditionally undertake a commitment to reduce its emissions by at least 40 % by 2030 compared with the 1990 level.
Norway will enter into a dialogue on joint fulfilment of its climate commitment together with the EU, with an emission reduction target of at least 40 % in 2030 compared with the 1990 level. In the period up to the Paris conference, Norway will work towards a letter of intent with the EU on joint fulfilment of this commitment.
An agreement on joint fulfilment with the EU would involve the following:
In sectors covered by the EU emissions trading system (EU ETS), Norway would contribute to emission reductions of 43 % compared with 2005 through its participation in the EU ETS.
Norway would also contribute to emission reductions in non-ETS sectors by setting a national emission target for these sectors in line with comparable EU countries.
For non-ETS sectors, flexibility within the EU system will make it possible to achieve some of the cuts through the purchase of EU emission allowances or the implementation of measures in other EU countries. Norway would make use of this flexibility on the same lines as EU member states.
If it is not possible to achieve joint fulfilment with the EU, the target of reducing emissions by at least 40 % compared with 1990 will be Norway’s INDC. This target is conditional on the availability of flexible mechanisms under the new climate agreement and on Norway being credited for participation in the EU ETS so that this counts towards fulfilment of the commitment. In this case, the Government will consult the Storting at a later date on the determination of a national target for the non-ETS sector.
This white paper does not present new measures, but describes existing policy instruments and gives a general description of sectors where there is expected to be a potential for emission reductions. The Government will submit proposals on new measures to the Storting at a later date, for example in annual budgets.