Norway unprepared for wetter climate

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A special climate commission, appointed to advise government officials on climate and environmental issues, has determined that Norway is vulnerable to a warmer, wetter climate in the years ahead.

The commission, which delivered its report to Environmental Minister Erik Solheim this week, claimed that Norwegian roads, train tracks, buildings and sewer systems aren’t in good enough shape to tackle increased precipitation.

A lack of maintenance of critical infrastructure in recent decades has left roadways and the railroad, for example, even more vulnerable. Tracks need to be reinforced, for example, as do mountainsides and terrain subject to landslides.

Even though Norway was heading into an unusual cold snap this week, commission members expect that average temperatures in Norway will rise between 2.3 and 4.6 degrees during the rest of this century, and that precipitation will increase by between 5 and 30 percent.

“How hard this hits us depends on our ability to adjust,” Oddvar Flæte, leader of the commission (called Klimatilpasningsutvalget) told newspaper Aftenposten. “We aren’t even prepared for our current climate. We need to shape up.”

The current government has allocated hundreds of millions of new funding for the railroad and other infrastructure, but the agencies involved have a lot of catching up to do.

Views and News staff