Norway’s parliament backs new climate change law

climate change law

Prime Minister of Norway, Erna Solberg. Creative Commons: Trondheim Havn, 2012

The Norwegian parliament has voted in favour of plans to create a climate law in the country to be put in place by the summer of 2017.

The plan, proposed by the Christian Democrats and Green Party, recommends Norway models its flagship law on the UK’s 2008 Climate Change Act.

The law would make Norway’s emission targets for 2020, 2030 and 2050 legally binding and ensure the government deliver annual progress reports on its efforts to reach the targets.

However a move to include future sector carbon budgets in the legislation was not supported.

The decision, backed by all parties except the right-wing Progress Party – one of the country’s ruling coalition partners – will see a committee set up by the government which will draft the new law, to be adopted before the next general elections set for September 2017.

It follows in the footsteps of a host of other countries, including the UK, Ireland, Finland and Denmark to put in place legislation to slash emissions and increase the role of renewable energy in the energy mix.

Reacting to the news, WWF Norway’s Elisabeth Waagaard said:

At the moment, Norwegian climate politics and legislation is fragmented and without a firm direction. Despite having a set of long-term targets, Norwegian CO2 emissions have increased since 1990. Within the coming decades, Norway will need to move from its dependence on fossil fuel industry, which has had a big influence on both energy and climate politics.

A climate law will give clear national climate goals, a trajectory and a structure to follow up the climate goals. This will be a very helpful tool as Norway transitions into a low carbon society before 2050.

Norway’s greenhouse gas emissions rose 4% from 1990 to 2013, largely due to its large oil and gas sector.

In February, the government also announced it would match the EU’s 2030 carbon reduction target of 40% by 2030, on 1990 levels.

Yesterday’s parliamentary meeting also say parliament approve a plan that will see the country match this target.

The decision means the country will go through with its plan to pledge such a cut in its UN climate pledge, to be submitted this month ahead of the climate talks in Paris at the end of the year – where governments are set to agree a new global treaty.

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