Article | Last updated: 2014-12-10 | Ministry of Climate and Environment
The global climate and environmental challenges require restructuring to a society in which growth and development take place within nature's tolerance limits. A transition must occur to products and services that give significantly reduced negative consequences for climate and the environment than those currently. Society must go through a green shift. It will be demanding, but fully possible.
The green shift must take place within a period of 30 to 50 years. During the same period the world population will increase by at least 50 per cent. At the same time more people must be lifted out of poverty. The global middle class is expected to rise from about 400 million people today to 1. 2 billion in only about 15 years.
Global shift, but Norway must find its own solutions
The green shift must be global. A globalised economy sets the framework for social and commercial development, policymaking and the use of public policy instruments. Norway has a small open economy that, to a greater degree than others, is framed by conditions that are not of our own making. At the same time Norway must find its own way to a green economy, as must all countries.
One of the measures is reducing emissions in the transport sector. The Norwegian Environment Agency has shown in the low emissions report that there is great potential for being able to achieve this in 2030. The entire sector can be free of fossil fuels in 2050. Through a policy in which cars with low emissions have lower taxes than cars with high emissions, a green shift is being promoted in the transport sector. In 2014 almost 15 per cent of all new passenger cars sold in Norway are electric cars that do not emit greenhouse gases.
Electric and hybrid cars in the space of just a few years have become real alternatives in the passenger car market. Electrification may also bring about restructuring in other sectors. Batteries are making inroads in the shipping industry, in the form of hybrid propulsion systems. NORLED's new ferry "Ampere" will enter service in January 2015. It is 100 per cent battery-powered. The Maritime Battery Forum was founded in 2014. Here companies and other expertise are brought together to promote the use of batteries on vessels.
New government planning guidelines for co-ordinated housing, land and transportation planning are contributing to developing more compact cities and communities with short distances between the various functions. This will reduce transportation needs. In conjunction with extending the public transportation services, it is facilitating the green shift in Norwegian cities.
Innovation and technological development are key elements
The restructuring encompasses all areas of society and participants. Innovation and technological development are key to the green shift, and businesses are a vital force. The government must ensure that there are the right framework conditions, a future-oriented infrastructure, a sustainable natural resource and land management and contribute to the development of markets through its own investments and use of its own market power.
Norwegian industry is already a world leader in its areas. In many cases this is about future climate solutions. The technology centre for CO2 capture initiatives at Mongstad is unique in the world. It can play an important role in testing and phasing in CO2 capture technologies. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change also emphasises how vital CO2 capture technologies are to the chance we have of reaching the two degrees target.
The Fund for climate, renewable energy and energy restructuring that is managed by ENOVA and the environmental technology scheme under Innovation Norway are examples of measures that promote climate-friendly restructuring in Norwegian businesses. The schemes are intended to mobilise Norwegian businesses to take - and maintain - the leadership role in the green shift. Through support schemes and an active use of tax policy it becomes more attractive for the companies to develop the markets of the future for low emission technology and sustainable products and services.
Goals based on the Government platform
The goals for the green shift in Norway are based on the Government platform from Sundvollen, on the goal that Norway shall be a low-emission society in 2050, on strengthening the Climate Agreement and on the Government's aim of safeguarding prudent management of nature as a basis for future growth and welfare. A green shift is part of the work for sustainable development.
The green shift will be demanding, but will first and foremost offer opportunities. In sum, the goal is a changed economic dynamic or growth potential, a “new economy”, that is itself arranged on solutions that produce low greenhouse gas emissions (New Climate Economy), and reduces the need for subsequent remedial environmental measures.