Zero takes Hurdahl at his word

To celebrate its 20th anniversary, Sigrun Aasland and its staff at Zero have conducted a study showing how SP/Labour’s climate policy goals can be achieved. Such a plan is currently lacking on the part of the government.

#Klimavalg – News release on Norwegian climate and energy policy

In the newsletter #Klimavalg, the Energy and Climate Editorial Team comments on climate and energy issues that are important in Norwegian politics. #Klimavalg is posted every Tuesday and has additional releases if needed. Energy and Climate is the online newspaper of the Norwegian Climate Foundation.

The Labor/SP/Labor government has made a fairly significant shift in climate policy with the following formulations in the Hurdal Platform: “By 2030, 55 per cent of Norway’s greenhouse gas emissions will be reduced, measured against 1990. This commitment applies on the entire economy, including the sector subject to quotas.”

Balancing national and international climate goals – “inside” and “outside” – has long been part of Norway’s climate policy. Both in relation to the Solberg government, and not least by analogy against the policy of the Stoltenberg government, the focus on emissions reduction in Norway is much greater in Støre/Vedum.

Linda Nøstbakken, director of research at Statistics Norway, warns against taking all cuts at home. You think it will be expensive.

Zero’s recipe is based on the objectives of the Hurdal platform. Zero shows that reducing emissions in 2030 to the level of 23 million tons will be very laborious and expensive, but still quite feasible. By increasing the use of tools across all sectors, Norway’s greenhouse gas emissions can be reduced significantly.

Zero indicates contract variance as a very important tool for carrying out actions that are costly to CO22– Arranges steak pricing. This is probably a good model in many cases. Various support schemes in parallel with increased fees and regulations are also included in the scope of the policy.

More policy and more money is needed to achieve Hurdal’s climate goals and it is undoubtedly true. But many questions will likely be asked of a moderate government when the Støre/Vedum government develops its action plan to pursue the goals.

There is not a very good history of achieving national climate goals in Norway. It probably never went the way Parliament and the government decided. Time is running out to tighten, as the United Nations Climate Panel shows us.

The headache, both politically and practically, revolves around how to address the oil sector and emissions from oil-related activities. This is a key component of Norway’s climate and energy policy, now as before. The Zero report states that “oil and gas production is in a special position compared to other industries: petroleum production today has no place in an emissions-free society.”

However, Zero will use significant resources to electrify offshore oil production and reduce emissions from onshore facilities, for example at Mongstad and Snøhvit. Without these measures, the account will not work. For it to drop to 22.98 million tons in 2030, cuts are needed there.

Zero wants to clarify national goals to strike a balance between diminishing opportunities within Norway’s borders. If the cuts are not made in one place, they should be taken in another, but still locally in Norway. This is the logic of Hurdahl’s platform. The advantage of this approach is that it provides clear control signals.

This is an important political choice made when the Labor/Labour government chose to take climate targets ‘at home’ and abolish the distinction between the two sectors of climate policy, i.e. the part that is part of the quota sector (EU-ETS) and the part that is not covered by quotas .

Norway’s boundaries are also the systematic boundaries of climate policy, as now defined by the Hurdal Platform. In many contexts this makes sense, for example, providing strong incentives to promote new technology – such as floating offshore winds, the transition to green hydrogen in fertilizer production at Yarra, carbon sequestration in various industrial parks and waste incineration. These are measures that point to a post-oil age where investment in Norway gives an edge in global competition.

But does it make sense to spend significant financial and human resources on reducing emissions at the oil refinery that makes diesel and gasoline, otherwise we would just let it shut down when carbon dioxide2Will the price be so high in the share market that it is no longer feasible to run it?

To cut just over a million tons of carbon dioxide2 By the way, in Möngstad it appears to be a bird on the roof. Zero wrote that there are significant plans to reduce emissions in several industries across the country, but not in the oil refinery where Equinor operates.

In principle, Norway has the financial resources to complete the full list provided by Zero, although it can be difficult to find the funds. But do we have real capital in the form of hands and heads, steel and concrete?

More use of the flexibility offered by EU cooperation will make it easier to achieve the goals. The EU quota market is doing well, and the bottom line is in European climate policy. By leaning more towards the European Union, for example, it would also be possible to avoid the increased use of imported biofuels. Zero will use more biofuels than the government plans, which could quickly lead to negative impacts somewhere in the biofuels global value chains.

Climate policy should lead to permanent cuts and real net-zero restructuring. Accounting tricks, such as excessive use of biofuels, do not meet this standard.

Due to the wording of the Hurdal platform, measures outside the country’s borders are no longer part of the menu. Therefore, the Støre/Vedum government owes it to us to quickly create their own version of the work Zero has done, until we see the concrete actions needed to reach the goal – as per the government’s own policy.

It must be worked on quickly. As Zero writes: “If the 2030 goals are to be met, emissions must be reduced each year as much as they have been achieved during the 30 years of climate policy. In other words: we need to reduce emissions by more than 50,000 tons of carbon dioxide2 every week.”

No point in coming in 2028 and saying it definitely didn’t work out anyway.

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