Government quarrels over emissions

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Norway’s left-center coalition government has stayed united and in power for nearly six years, but quarrels continue. Now the three parties making up the coalition are arguing over how to meet their goals for cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

The government is under pressure to cut emissions within Norway, not easy for a country with a large oil and gas industry. Yet Norway is supposed to cut emissions by 30 percent (12 million to 14 million tons) over the next nine years, two-thirds of it within Norway.

Newspaper Aftenposten reports the coalition’s two small parties (the Socialist Left and Center Party) fear they won’t meet their goals. Emissions actually rose in 2010, and the OECD has expressed concerns as well. Top leaders of the coalition’s dominant Labour Party, including Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg and Finance Minister Sigbjørn Johnsen, don’t want to set up a so-called “Climate Fund” fed by new carbon taxes to finance emissions reduction, while the other parties and even some other Labour leaders support such a fund.

Meanwhile, opposition politicians are taking advantage of the internal government disagreement. Several environmental organizations are lobbying for a fund, to earmark new climate taxes for climate measures. The debate is expected to continue through the summer.

Views and News staff