Historical archive

Experience with long-term strategies in Europe

Norway's low emissions policy

Historical archive

Published under: Solberg's Government

Publisher: Ministry of Climate and Environment

Statement at “The EUs vision for a modern, clean and competitive economy". Stakeholder consultation high level public event, Brussels 11 July 2018.

Excellencies, colleagues, ladies and gentlemen,

I am glad for this opportunity to share Norwegian experiences in developing a long-term policy for a low emission future.

Having a 2050 target is imperative. Our 2050 target is becoming a low emission society by reducing the emissions with 80-95 percent, in Norway, as in the rest of Europe. These reductions are anchored in the Climate Act together with our 2030 target.

Our 2030 policy is the pathway to 2050. 2050 policies must be rooted in the policies we lead today. Let me share a couple of experiences.

Carbon pricing has great influence on people's behaviour. Thereby it increases technological change.

Electric vehicles

80 percent of Norway's emissions are covered by either a carbon tax or the emissions trading system or both. In our 2030 policies we must set a path for carbon pricing compatible with our 2050 target. That is one of the main reasons why Norway seek joint fulfilment with the EU in its 2030 target. That is an agreement that we want to have this year.

The transformation towards 2050 is realised by building a combination of policies over time. Norway has a strong and effective electric vehicles policy, as many of you know. So far this year, more than 25 percent of new cars sold in Norway are fully electric. We are on track to meet our target of 100 percent zero emission new car sales by 2025.

There are also other targets for other groups of low or zero emission vehicles.

This is made possible by a combination of high carbon price, strong incentives and attractive and affordable cars. We have had a carbon price since 1991 and the incentives for electric vehicles since early 2000. And this is going fast. Still in 2010, only 680 electric cars were sold in Norway. In 2017 alone, 42.000 new electric cars rolled out on Norwegian roads.

This is also happening in shipping. We have our first fully electric car ferry, and we have 63 fully electric car ferries in commission that will be introduced by 2021-2022. There is also a fully electric autonomous cargo ship, Yara Birkeland, that will be introduced in the beginning of 2020. Also other areas, like fossil free building sites, is very fast rolling into becoming a standard.

Change can happen fast, but the stimulating polices must work over time.

Carbon capture and storage

Developing CCS, carbon capture and storage technology, is necessary for reaching our global targets. We need to create a new momentum for CCS in Europe. The Norwegian CCS-project is constructed so that partners in Europe and around the world may benefit. Only if it is replicated in other countries it will create real benefit.

To develop CCS technologies is costly, and we need co-founding from other partners as well. We hope to engage with the European Member States to take this work forward. I call upon the Commission to ensure that carbon capture and storage is included as a key component in the EU’s long-term strategy for emission reductions. We now have two projects that are moving forward.

Broad cooperation

Ambition will be delivered by our businesses, industries, workforce, local government and our citizens. It is stating the obvious – our climate polices must be owned by those implementing it.

 I will also share some experiences of the cooperation that we have.

Long-term binding commitments between central government and local governments support ambition and speed up delivery. Planning can lock in high-emissions for decades. This is particularly relevant for our ability to reach the target of zero-growth in transport in our cities.

A structure for binding obligations between our major cities and the government was established in 2013. In simple terms, the deal is that cities, in cooperation with surrounding municipalities, set targets and design concrete projects to transform the transport sector. The government is obliged to partly fund the projects. This is combined with similar contracts to align land use planning and low emission development. In sum, this allows the cities to be more ambitious and deliver better results.

Businesses and industries will create their own pathways. In 2015 the government established an expert committee to recommend a strategy for green competitiveness. The mandate was based on our low emission targets for 2030 and 2050. They gave their recommendations in 2016 along with wide range of roadmaps from different businesses and industry sectors.

The commission challenged the sectors by asking "looking at the targets, what will you do to be competitive in a low emission future?". Last month I received the 18th road map from the finance sector.

Now – these roadmaps do not hold the full answer to a low emission future. But they do form a starting point for a discussion on how we better can reach our climate, industrial and research and technology development polices.

Transformation will be challenging and we need to manage the risks. The government has asked for an assessment of climate risks to the Norwegian economy. This report will be delivered in December, dealing with the whole economy and what will be the climate risks that we face.

To end: 2030 and 2050 targets are interlinked. 2050 will be a result of what we do today. What we do today depend on our ability to create long-term policies.

The EU is already leading the way. I look forward to a close and productive cooperation to deliver on the Paris Agreement.

Thank you!