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Norway Advances Date for Going Carbon-Neutral By 20 Years to 2030

20 January 2008

Norway will accelerate its reductions of carbon dioxide emissions to be completely carbon neutral by 2030—20 years ahead of the original target. The climate policy underlying this is the result of an agreement between the government of Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg and the three large opposition parties.

The government will use a combination of domestic funding to develop renewable energy sources and carbon capture and storage technology; strengthen public transport; and implement measures to reduce emissions from the transport sector. At the same time, taxes on diesel fuel and gasoline will be increased. The plan also relies on large annual purchases (approaching US$550 million) of carbon offsets through international emission trading systems.

The parties believe that it is realistic to assume that Norway’s annual greenhouse gas emissions can be reduced by 15–17 million tonnes of CO2 equivalents by 2020 when forest carbon uptake is included. About two thirds of Norway’s total emissions reductions will need to be made nationally, the remainder coming from emission trading. Transportation accounts for 38% of Norway’s greenhouse gas emissions.

Among the planned immediate actions are:

  • The government will set aside an additional NOK 70 million (US$12.8 million) for research on renewable energy and carbon capture and storage. In 2009 this additional allocation will increase to NOK 300 million (US$54.8 million). By 2010 public support for research on renewable energy and carbon capture and storage will amount to at least NOK 600 million (US$110 million).

  • NOK 150 million (US$27.4 million) will be set aside for a development and demonstration program for offshore wind turbines and other immature energy technologies. The Government has also improved tax conditions for small-scale power plants for which a concession application had been submitted by 5 October 2007.

  • The funds allocated to the incentive scheme to encourage larger urban areas to improve public transport will be doubled, but this is contingent on binding agreements on measures to reduce road traffic being reached.

  • The allocations for railway investments will be increased by NOK 250 million (US$45.7 million) next year.

  • The diesel fuel tax will be increased by NOK 0.10 per liter ($0.07 per gallon US), and the gasoline tax will correspondingly be increased by NOK 0.05 ($0.035 per gallon US). The purpose is to step up efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and the proposal must be seen in connection with the increased allocation for public transport.

  • In the 2009 government budget, NOK 50 million (US$9.1 million) will be allocated to Transnova, a pilot project aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the transport sector through the use of alternative fuels including biofuels and hydrogen.

The government intends to present a separate action plan for switching from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources for heating. Public buildings will be required to have flexible energy systems. Work will be launched to prepare a ban as from 2009 on installing oil-fired heating systems in public buildings and commercial buildings of more than 500 square metres when old oil-fired boilers are replaced or when such buildings undergo major reconstruction that includes their heating systems.

In addition, there are initiatives that have been taken by the Government in parallel with the negotiations as they were in line with proposals made by the three opposition parties. These will involve spending up to NOK 3 billion (US$548 million) each year on reducing CO2 emissions caused by deforestation in developing countries.

The Government will resume negotiations with Sweden on green certificates for renewable energy production. If agreement has not been reached by 1 July 2008, the Government will present a proposal for making adjustments to the arrangement for renewable electricity with a view to facilitating an increase in renewable electricity production to match the increase that would have been achieved under the green certificate scheme.

January 20, 2008 in Climate Change, Emissions, Europe, Fuels, Hydrogen, Policy | Permalink | Comments (24) | TrackBack (0)

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2030 will be 20 years too late, but at least they are making an effort.

All sounds pretty positive , should be good news for" Think "

It's somewhat ironic that Norway's laudable efforts on global warming are almost entirely funded by the intensive exploitation of its oil & gas resources.

Norway already produces nearly 100% of their electricity by hydropower. It would be very admirable if Norway’s carbon neutrality also included an announcement by Norway that they will ban completely all oil and natural gas production by 2030 from their soil. That would force the EU to speed up their plans for renewable energy since they get quite a lot of their gas from Norway (I think 20% of all natural gas consumed in the EU is Norwegian). We need to take drastic steps simply because we face a planetary emergency and those who do not care for the environment should be forced to cut their emissions by use of increasing prices. Norway is in an excellent position to guarantee steadily higher prices on natural gas and oil globally also because they have already stocked so much oil and gas money that they really don’t need the revenue from this business anymore.

This is like a fat person sitting on a bus and hoping the passenger in the next seat will be skinny. It could turn out that carbon capture and storage doesn't work (this is bigger than Sleipner) and that after checking the carbon accounting Mother Nature isn't convinced that the offsets actually reduce emissions. They could try leaving the oil and gas in the ground..that would really work.

Lucas, how can you even say that. how do you propose that they go carbon neutral by tomorrow??? they would have to completely shut down and everyone would die(no transportation of food/water/etc...) going carbon neutral in 20 years is absolutely incredible, if we could pull that off world wide we wouldn't have a problem on our hands anymore.


Brad - I'm simply saying that it is already likely too late.

(For ALL of us.)

Am I the only person who thinks "international emission trading systems" are a boondoggle? Wouldn't $550 million be better spent on scientivic research? Couldn't Norwegian engineers and scientists use the money more fruitfully than international bureaucrats manipulating the nebulous carbon credit market?

The plan also relies on large annual purchases (approaching US$550 million) of carbon offsets through international emission trading systems.

One promising way to capture carbon is to take biomass, run it through a downdraft gasifier to extract combustible gases, take the charcoal that remains of the biomass and till it into the soils as biochar. The soils are enriched by the biochar (also known as agrichar) and carbon is removed from the atmosphere. The Amazonian people showed us that the carbon will stay locked in the soil for hundreds, if not thousands, of years (Google terra preta for more info). We don't have to inject CO2 miles underground to get rid of it. Aqrichar also reduces the amount of nitrogen and other fertilizers that need to be added to the soil.

One promising way to capture carbon is to take biomass, run it through a downdraft gasifier to extract combustible gases, take the charcoal that remains of the biomass and till it into the soils as biochar. The soils are enriched by the biochar (also known as agrichar) and carbon is removed from the atmosphere. The Amazonian people showed us that the carbon will stay locked in the soil for hundreds, if not thousands, of years (Google terra preta for more info). We don't have to inject CO2 miles underground to get rid of it. Aqrichar also reduces the amount of nitrogen and other fertilizers that need to be added to the soil.

Ironic?, much better to utilize the windfall to invest in the future via technology and science the very reason being that this removes some fat from the overheated consumer oriented "Instant" economy and places it into the future, where all rational commentators agree lean times re coming.
We are living in an economic "golden age, as such any acknowledgement and commitment, not withstanding that the biggest advances apear to be in accounting.

We need to acknowledge that it's as good as it gets and may never see repeated the opporunities we have now.

On the surface, buying your way, to be a carbon neutral country, with oil and gas export revenues sounds almost disreputable.

Are all means acceptable to achieve GHG national reduction goals?

However, using fossil fuel export revenues and carbon taxes to reduce GHG produced locally is commendable.

Too bad that Canada (and other fossil fuel producing nations) will not as much or more.

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Taking off from Rafael's point, I'm curious what would be the net world CO2 effect of Norway simply shutting down its oil exports instead. That would surely send the price of oil even higher, which would in turn create more and faster scrambling for alternatives and/or reduction of world wide consumption, and perhaps do more good than any internally based carbon neutrality. But that's a total wild ass guess...

For an oil-and-gas producing country like Norway, it may be more economical to invest part of their huge profits in oceanic carbon sequestration. the price of oil has increased 4-fold in the last decade, it will probably increase even further.
If the CO2-problem isn't solved, production of oil and gas will certainly fall relatively soon because of the environmental emergency. So they will lose their chicken with golden eggs.
On the other hand, if it would be possible to develop a system of diffuse carbon sequestration (for instance using electrodialysis and ocean alkalinisation), the use of fossil fuels can go on for centuries without climate problem.
(http://www.greencarcongress.com/2007/11/researchers-dev.html)
Technically, it is possible today already. it's only too expensive to be feasible.
Norway would be smart en innovative to lead the OPEC-countries in a major R&D effort to make this technology economical. If they succeed, they solve the climate problem, while securing their easy money for many decades to come.

I like Norway.

I was pretty excited about what Norway is doing until I found out that much of their plan depends upon carbon offsets.

The value of offsets depends upon the nature of the offset, but let's take one example.

Paying another country to prevent deforestation would be a positive thing, assuming that deforestation would actually occur otherwise. But all that does is prevent further deterioration of an already bad situation and doesn't actually decrease carbon emissions over the baseline.

It seems to me that one has to look at this situation the way one looks at investments. What investment gives one the greatest return on the dollar? Alternatively, what investment reduces carbon the most per dollar of investment? Which is more valuable -- spending a million dollars on retrofitting houses to conserve energy or spending an equivalent amount of save a portion of the Amazonian rain forest?

But another issue complicates the analysis. As long as all countries aren't signed up to reduce their emissions, then we will have situation where the rich countries have to bribe the less rich countries to keep their energy in the ground or keep their trees standing.

Another caveat is that many developing countries are not capable of enforcing regulations prohibiting tree clearing for activities like ranching and soy bean production. So, we might end up with a situation where we pay a country not to deforest but it happens anyway. Illegal deforestation is happening right now and certain countries don't have the will or the ability to stop it.

I'm amazed at how negative the comments are.
Norway is spending money to reduce GHG emissions: surely that's good.
You'd hope that the money is spent to produce the biggest benefit possible, which necessarily means looking outside Norway. To their credit they are doing that, despite it involving spending government money outside the home country.
The best thing might be to choose individual projects, but this would involve setting up a grant council for the world. It would seem easier to tap into the only existing market for their purpose, namely carbon trading.

The point is to minimise GHG with a minimal disruption to living standards. Norway should no more stop oil production than the US should stop all cars because they both badly affect quality of life. So Norway is not being hypocritical, just applying the principals that you'd expect.

they could do a lot by just raising the oil taxes about 100%, that would encourage conservation and they would have a lot of money to spend on kids in Africa.. everybody wins!

Norway stopping fossil fuel production would be making an addicted world go cold turkey.

It was watching a PBS Nova program called Absolute Zero and it talked about how we got refrigeration and AC. I occurred to me that after that, we were on our way to more cities, fewer people in agriculture and a one way, no turning back journey.

Lucas said he following:

"I'm simply saying that it is already likely too late.

(For ALL of us.)"


That is really funny !!!

Just because Al Gore made an anti-Republican Political Propaganda film, Lucas is now in Panic Mode.

I'm no fan of Bush, so thats not where I'm going with this.

But to buy into that stupid film, like Lucas did, is just crazy.

Don't wet your nickers Lucas. The sky is not falling.
We'll be ok - regardless of what the Micheal Moores and Al Gores of the world have to say.

Many of the so-called Facts of the stupid film have been proven wrong and grossly exaggerated.

Why would they do such a thing, you may ask.

To villify Republicans, of course.

That film was so politically motivated that even Stevie Wonder can see through it.

Herm Perez said - "they could do a lot by just raising the oil taxes about 100%, that would encourage conservation and they would have a lot of money to spend on kids in Africa.. everybody wins!"


Herm Perez complains about the high price of gasoline. But he does not factor "Supply and Demand" into the equation.

He also ignores OPECs greed when they charge $100 a barrel. Instead, he seems to blame big US corporations for the current prices. He doesn't see the real root of the problem - OPEC.

Then he comes up with his ridiculous Socialist Solution.

Give me a break. That proposal wouldn't solve anything.

OPEC will still be greedy. And little, if any, of the tax would actually get to the children.

What a stupid idea.

Call me Herm please, yes not all the taxes will get to the children.. but at least a bit will.. dont you care about the children?

BTW.. I was being sarcastic.. but one "benefit" of higher taxes is that it slows down the economy, and if you are lucky will even send it into a recession.. and oil comsuption will go down then.. yes, some people will starve but you have to break some eggs to make an omelette.

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