Norway pledges to become climate neutral by 2030

Norway’s parliament has approved a radical goal of achieving climate neutrality by 2030, two decades earlier than planned.

On Tuesday night MPs voted for an accelerated programme of CO2 cuts and carbon trading to offset emissions from sectors such as Norway’s oil and gas industries, which are unlikely to be phased out in the near future.

The minority government’s ruling Progress and Conservative parties withdrew their support for the motion at the last minute. But their argument, that ambitious emissions reductions now could interfere with future climate negotiations, was roundly defeated.

Rasmus Hansson, the leader of the Norwegian Green party in parliament, said: “This is a direct response to the commitments Norway took on by ratifying the Paris agreement and means that we will have to step up our climate action dramatically. ‘2050’ is science fiction. ‘2030’ is closer to us now than the year 2000.”

The high profile climate motion followed a zero deforestation parliamentary vote earlier this month, which made Norway the first nation to ban public procurements that contribute to rainforest destruction.

Norway emits around 53m tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent each year and the climate minister, Vidar Helgesen, told parliament that he wanted to offset this, by paying other nations to cut their emissions under carbon trading schemes which expire in 2020.

“It is incumbent on me to underline that this proposal from parliament is really about carbon offsets,” Helgesen told the Guardian. “It is not about national emissions reductions beyond what we will contribute, through the EU process.”

Although Norway is outside the EU, it still participates in the EU’s emissions trading system.

Posted on Wednesday Jun 15