Norway still fails to cut its emissions

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While several other countries in the European Union have cut their carbon emissions in half, they’ve increased in oil-producing Norway. One critic claims Norwegian politicians have been opposed in principle to making cuts for many years, and none will occur any time soon.

Oslo politicians are lobbying hard to get the state to help pay for a carbon capture and storage facility here at the Klemtsrud garbage processing and thermal power plant. The city won't need to spend money it planned to allocate for a Winter Olympics, but can't seem to spend it instead on a facility that could help halt climate change. PHOTO: Wikipedia

Oslo politicians are lobbying hard to get the state to help pay for a carbon capture and storage facility here at the Klemtsrud garbage processing and thermal power plant. PHOTO: Wikipedia

A new report from the European Environment Agency (EEA) confirms how poorly Norway is doing in cutting its own emissions. Norway has long favoured paying other countries to cut emissions while failing to do so itself.

According to the EEA report, Norway’s carbon emissions increased by 2.4 percent between 1990 and 2014. Newspaper Dagsavisen reported Wednesday that overall emissions in the EU declined by 24.4 percent in the same period.

Several countries cut their emissions by half, with Lithuania doing the best by reducing them by 59.6, followed closely by Latvia, Romania, Slovakia and Bulgaria.

Marius Holm, leader of the environmental group Zero, noted that it’s not fair to directly compare those countries’ cuts with Norway because they still had old industrial plants and used lots of coal as a holdover from their years as part of the Soviet Union. They’ve since eliminated much of that, Holm that, which accounts for their impressive emission cuts statistics.

Neighbours also shame Norway
“But it’s relevant to compare Norway to our neighbours,” he added, and then Norway still compares badly. Denmark, for example, has cut emissions by 27.6 percent, Sweden by 24.4 percent and Finland by 17.1 percent, while Norway’s emissions have risen.

“In these countries, there are firm policies to cut emissions,” Holm told Dagssavisen. “Norway could have done the same. Instead there’s been political focus on buying climate quotas, even though they don’t work.”

It’s not just Norway’s oil and gas industry that’s to blame. Emissions from vehicular traffic, for example, have increased despite record sales of electric cars. Such emissions have also increased in the EU, as have emissions from use of air conditioning systems.

News last week that Oil & Energy Minister Tord Lien wants to delay carbon capture and storage facilities by another two years, in the hopes their costs will come down, will further delay emissions cuts. Despite strict and unpopular new measures to limit driving in Oslo, city politicians can’t hope to reduce emissions in Oslo until carbon capture and storage is finally in place at the city’s garbage processing and thermal power plant at Klemetsrud.

City seeks funds for Klemetsrud
Now the city is lobbying hard for state funds to ensure the earliest possible opening of a carbon capture and storage facility at Klemetsrud. “We have said all along we rely on cooperation and contributions from the state,” city government leader Raymond Johansen of the Labour Party told newspaper Aftenposten.

The state will decide which of three industrial sites will get carbon capture and storage facilities first: Klemetsrud, Norcem’s cement plant in Brevik or Yara’s ammonia plant in Porsgrunn. Feasibility studies show they can be built at all three sites, with actual cost estimates due later this summer.

Aftenposten also pointed out on Wednesday that since the City of Oslo won’t be needing state guarantees to pay for a Winter Olympics in 2022, after the state shot down that project based on high costs and lack of public support, perhaps some of the money the city would have spent on sports facilities can be channeled into helping to reserve climate change instead.

newsinenglish.no/Nina Berglund