Bellona puts forward ten environmental demands to Norway’s new government

frontpageingressimage_ingressimage_DSC_4415-1..JPG Photo: ola innset

Last week, following the parliamentary election that was held in Norway in mid-September – and in which the Red-Green Coalition headed by incumbent Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg retained its lead, allowing Stoltenberg to stay on for the new term – the newly assembled Norwegian government started negotiations to formulate what is called the Government Declaration – its new policy for the next four years.

“This four-year period will be crucial in determining whether we will be able to cope with the climate crisis,” says Bellona’s vice president Marius Holm. “We need to turn Norway the Oil Nation into Norway the Renewables Nation.”

Bellona strongly believes that climate issues must take central place in the new governmental policy negotiations and presents ten environmental demands to be considered in the process.

“The government does not lack in goal-setting, but it lacks in means to achieve the goals. We have a climate agreement in place and it is not too bad, but the most important thing is to make sure the instruments are there to realise these goals,” Holm said to the Norwegian online publication VG Nett. “It’s a tough fight, fighting for every single one of these means, like renewable energy or electric cars. The government must be more concrete, and we want to have clear strategies worked out as soon as possible.”   

Ten climate demands
1) Enforce radical cuts in emissions. Norway must reduce its own emissions by 30 percent from the 1990-level within 2020. That means Norway will have to cut emissions by 25 million tonnes – or by 10 million tonnes more than was agreed on in the climate deal that parliament members – with the exception of Fremskrittspartiet, or Progress Party – reached earlier.

2) Set an example during the new global climate deal negotiations in Copenhagen. Clear and ambitious goals in reducing Norway’s own harmful emissions will serve as the best possible way to approach talks on the new global climate treaty to be negotiated in Copenhagen in December this year.

3) Actively use the resources of the Norwegian Petroleum Fund in combating climate change. The Petroleum Fund of Norway (Oljefondet, or the Government Pension Fund) must have clear environmental goals and use its resources to influence systematically the policies of companies it invests in. In certain cases, it must make the decision to expel member companies, such as those that are engaged in active lobbying against legislation promoting climate solutions.

4) Set up long-term oil-free zones in the areas around Lofoten, Vesterålen, Senja, and Møre, as well as in Norwegian arctic regions such as the sea areas off the coast of the island of Jan Mayen. The world does not need more greenhouse gas emissions – especially not when oil drilling threatens to bring harm to the vulnerable natural environment, as in the case of these areas.

5) Augment the share of renewable energy. Until the time when the Norwegian “Green Certificate” market is up and running, the government must earmark yearly allocations of NOK 2 billion to support renewable energy in the country. Norway must also commit to the European Union’s renewable energy directive’s goal of raising its share of renewable energy from today’s 60 percent to at least 73 percent within 2020.

6) Improve taxation laws for car buyers by introducing financial incentives for new buyers of electric cars. Ten percent of the Norwegian car fleet must be represented by electric cars and plug-in vehicles within 2020.

7) Give the national industry a comprehensive push to help it move toward renewable energy, establishing a technology development fund of NOK 10 billion. The Norwegian industry must be able to drive forward the development of renewable energy, and with emission-eliminating technologies in place at production facilities, the industry will become the foundation needed to let Norway grow into a renewable energy economy.

8) Start implementing CCS technologies at the sites at Mongstad and Kårstø, as well as establish three new CCS clusters at Snøhvit, in Grenland, and at Tjeldbergodden or Nyhavna, to eliminate CO2 emissions generated by oil and other industries.

9) Start supplying the oil industry with clean energy from land; provide electric power supply from land to all the new and the many existing installations on the Norwegian shelf within 2020. Norway will thus be able to cut 4 million tonnes’ worth of CO2 in oil industry emissions.

10) Impose a ban on fossil fuel burned to supply heating to Norway’s residential buildings.
In addition, the government must make sure that energy consumption in the Norwegian housing sector is reduced by at least 15 terawatt-hours within 2020.

Norway’s comprehensive climate plan
Bellona’s ten environmental demands have been formulated on the basis of “Bellona’s message – Norway’s Comprehensive Climate Plan (in Norwegian),” a multifaceted subject-specific agenda of climate issues and solutions that Bellona presented last May.