A new report from the Norwegian Environment Agency claims that Norwegian politicians have been too slow to cut emissions at home, meaning that the country probably won’t meet its own climate goals by 2020.
“From a technical point of view, it’s still possible to achieve the national goals on reduction of emissions by 2020, but it will be very demanding,” Ellen Hambro, director of the state environmental agency (Miljødirektoratet) told newspaper VG. She said that in order the meet the goals, Norway must immediately electrify all new offshore oil and gas installations and quickly implement all measures on a list of other possible cuts, including a freeze on all new roadbuilding, greatly increased taxes on gasoline-driven vehicles and mandatory carbon capture plants at industrial locations.
Much of the blame for the slow response to needed cuts has been placed on the last left-center government, led by former Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg of the Labour Party. Even though both Stoltenberg and the party exert an image as environmental champions, they failed to push through a much-hyped carbon capture facility at Statoil’s Mongstad refinery on the west coast and refused to stop Statoil’s controversial tar sands project in Canada. Labour also firmly backs Norway’s oil industry because of the jobs its provides, even though the industry is what makes Norway one of the world’s largest generators of emissions per capita.
Stoltenberg was newly named a special UN climate envoy, responsible for getting other countries to cut emissions, even though he’s failed to do so at home.