Climate budget: Norway in the red from the start

According to preliminary calculations from Statistics Norway (SSB), greenhouse gas emissions in the so-called uncharted sector in Norway amounted to about 25,370,000 tons in 2021.

This is 480,000 tons more than the quota allocated by Norway.

In Norway’s agreement with the European Union on the joint implementation of climate goals, an annual emission cap was set in the non-quota sector from 2021. The ESA set this cap at 2,516,459 tons in 2021, but then used a method Counting is different from Norway’s Census method. The Ministry of Climate and Environment states that the maximum would be around 24,890,000 tons if converted to the same calculation method used by Statistics Norway.

At the same time, the ceiling is lowered year after year – so emissions must be reduced by more than one million tons from 2021 to 2022 if the 2022 requirement is to be met.

Binding regulations

Ola Elvestuen of the Liberal Party was Minister of Climate and Environment when EU rules were incorporated into the European Economic Area Agreement in 2018.

Today he says that was the most important thing he did as a minister. The reason is that the regulations are binding on all Norwegian governments until 2030.

Now the effort should be boosted every year in the future, Elvestuen stresses.

– This is not a goal. It’s a commitment that Norway has with the EU, and we have that commitment on an equal footing with all EU countries, he says.

There is no alternative to not increasing the accounts.

Refers to the previous government

NTB also asked Climate and Environment Minister Espin Barth Eide (Labour) questions about the numbers. Leaves it to Foreign Minister Sigrid Hagerup Milos (Labour) to answer.

– Emission figures for 2021 are preliminary and the distribution of sources can be changed. However, it is worrying that emissions in 2021 are likely to be higher than our emissions budget, Milos says.

He points to the previous government:

Emissions in 2021 are largely a result of the previous government’s climate policy. There was a change of government in October.

Milos thinks Norway’s climate policy has been a few years behind.

We are noticing the consequences of that now, because climate measures often need some time to be implemented and then act, she warns.


The overall goal in the agreement with the European Union is to reduce climate emissions in Norway’s non-quota sector by 40 percent from the 2005 level by 2030.

The so-called non-quota sector is the emissions that fall outside the EU corporate quota system (ETS) – that is, emissions from transport, construction, waste, agriculture and some industries. In total, there is talk of about half of the greenhouse gases emitted in Norway.

But EU rules also give Norway flexibility.

The most important flexibility is that just under six million of the allocations have been transferred from ETS to the disallowed sector. These quotas now constitute a kind of savings account that Norway could lose out on if emissions requirements are not met in the non-quota sector.

In addition, Norway can borrow quotas from recent years, buy quotas from other European countries or deduct some of the carbon dioxide associated with forests.

hanging sharpening

Elvestuen believes the goal should be to not drain the savings account at all. Alternatively, ETS quotas could be deleted, he suggests. This means that emissions reductions will be greater.

Meanwhile, the EU is currently on its way to final negotiations on toughening targets. In adopting this tightening, Norway should expect to be required to accept a cut of 50 percent instead of 40 percent by 2030.

– So this will be more difficult, says Elvestuen.

For his part, Milos says the solution is to tighten climate policy every year into the future. However, it does not provide a direct answer as to whether it is appropriate for the government to use the flexibility allowed by the EU.

The final settlement of emissions in 2021-2025 will not take place until 2028.

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