Following hot on the heels of the decision to commit to zero deforestation, Norway have just made even bolder environmental commitments. MPs of the Scandinavian nation have just voted to make the country become entirely carbon neutral by 2030, a full two decades earlier than they would need to under the Paris Climate Agreement.
This accelerated program of cuts to carbon emissions was first floated as far back as 2008, but due to the lack of global agreements at the 2009 Copenhagen climate summit, Norway settled on completing them by 2050. After negotiations were so successful last year in Paris, however, where 177 governments agreed to limit the average global temperature rise to “well below” 2°C (3.6 °F), it set things off again and their ambitious goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2030 was yet again brought forward.
The members of Parliament this week voted the resolution through 54-47, despite Climate and Environment Minister Vidar Helgesen branding the initiative as “premature and costly” by claiming that it will rack up costs of 20 billion kroner ($3 billion) per year by 2030. Another politician responded, however, by asking: “Would it be less costly and would the consequences for society be diminished if we postpone this measure?”
Despite being incredibly forward thinking with its stance on climate change and in protecting the planet's forests, Norway is actually the largest oil producer in Western Europe, meaning that its economy is rather dependent on the main driver of climate change in the first place. Despite pumping the fossil fuel out of the ground, the country itself gets most of its electricity through hydro schemes.
In order for Norway to be completely carbon neutral by 2030, they will be relying on the purchasing of carbon offsets abroad. This means that Norway will in effect be paying other nations to cut their carbon emissions, reduce deforestation, or capture carbon in order to cancel out their own output, which is estimated to be around 53 million tonnes (58 million tons) of carbon dioxide equivalent per year.