There is a close relation between economic development, energy use and lifestyle and greenhouse gas emissions. The costs of reducing greenhouse gases can vary considerably from sector to sector. To a large extent the instruments are therefore a compromise between environmental and other interests.
Many instruments in place
The CO2 tax introduced in 1991 is Norway’s main instrument in environmental policy. In addition, a national emissions quota system for parts of the processing industry and the offshore sector, was introduced in 2005 and was expanded from 2013. This means that there are targeted instruments for approximately ninety per cent of Norwegian emissions.
Greenhouse gas emissions are closely linked to the economic development. In 1991 Norway introduced a CO2 tax, which currently covers a little more than 50 per cent of our total greenhouse gas emissions.
Domestic emissions trading scheme
Norway established a domestic emissions trading scheme in 2005. In 2008 this trading scheme became part of the European Trading Scheme (ETS), with harmonised legislation with the EU. From 2012 aviation was covered by the ETS.
To prepare new sectors currently not covered by the ETS, for their future introduction to the scheme, a voluntary agreement between the metallurgical and mineral industries and the Government was signed in August 2009. For the period of 2008 – 2012 the emissions from this particular industry will be limited to 6.2 million tonnes CO2-equivalents, a 44 per cent reduction from this sector’s emissions in 1990.
In 2008 Norway introduced a voluntary carbon offset scheme where companies, authorities and persons not covered by the ETS can offset their emissions. For every ton offset in the scheme Norway deletes one unit.
Tax and restrictions on waste disposal
As of July 1st 2009 Norway banned the disposal of wet organic waste on landfills. This is expected to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions by 2 per cent. There is also a tax on final waste disposal to encourage waste recovery and minimise the use of landfills.
Tax and refund scheme for HFCs and PFC
In 2003 Norway introduced taxes on the import and export of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) and perfluorocarbons (PFCs), followed by annually decreasing allowances of import. As of January 2010 Norway banned all import and export of all ozone depleting gases. Most of these gases are also greenhouse gases with a strong global warming potential.
Local climate plans
The Norwegian Government encourages all local authorities to develop local climate plans to reduce the emissions locally.
Management of forests
As the Norwegian Arctic is gradually covered with more forests as a result of climate change, an active management of these areas might contribute to additional sequestration of CO2. Active management of other forest areas has also proven to be an effective measure.
Reducing emissions from agriculture
The Norwegian government have made plans for both reducing the emissions from agriculture and increase its sequestration of CO2. Different regimes contributing to the development of new renewable energy such as wind is beginning to have an effect, and research both within the fields of reducing emissions and binding climate gases are highly prioritized.