Wednesday, 02 February 2022 12:37

Minister Espen Barth Eide: In Glasgow the world took a huge step in the right direction

Caspian Energy (CE): What measures and activities will the new government carry out domestically to reduce Norway’s greenhouse gas emissions by 50-55% by 2030? 

Espen Barth Eide, Minister of Climate and Environment of Norway: This government has in its new platform set out an ambitious framework for the climate policy in the years to come. We need effective measures that reduce emissions fast.

 Our plan is to work with business, industry, and the social partners, involving all parts of society, to help us all succeed the transition towards a renewable, circular and sustainable future. This transition will make a difference in Norway. But our ambition goes further: We aim to develop and export new technology that can be of use beyond our borders. Our active industrial policy will support technologies reach their tipping points. In doing so, correct carbon pricing is essential. Norway has a long tradition with carbon pricing, and this Government recently decided to raise the CO2-tax and to gradually increase the CO2 tax to 2000 NOK in 2030, for emissions not covered by the EU Emissions Trading System. Efforts to develop green technology in the industry will be further strengthened through the state-owned fund and enterprise Enova.

CE: What could you say about the phase out of fossil fuel consumption in Norway?

Espen Barth Eide: Norway is the world leading country in electric vehicles and has in place several measures to promote sustainable transport systems. This includes setting national targets for EV shares and average emissions from new cars sold; various financial incentives; information and other measures to show that EVs are in fact safe, efficient and reliable. In 2020 12 per cent of the Norwegian passenger car fleet are zero emission vehicles. So far in 2021, 64 per cent of all new passenger cars sold were zero emission vehicles, bringing the total EV passenger car fleet to more than 400 000 cars (out of about 2,8 million).

 Another example is heating. Norway was one of the first countries in the world to ban the use of mineral oil for heating of buildings. The ban covers both new and old buildings, and applies to private homes and businesses as well as publicly owned facilities alike. The ban has phased out consumption of oil as a heating source in Norwegian buildings, and mineral oil has been replaced by renewable sources.

CE: Did the Glasgow summit justify your expectations?

Espen Barth Eide: In Glasgow the world took a huge step in the right direction. Countries agreed that we need to raise ambition to meet the 1.5 temperature target. To get there we need a quick shift to renewable energy, and on the way must phase down coal and phase out fossil subsidies. To get this signal from a climate summit was a success. Another big win from COP26 was the finalization of the Paris Rulebook, now we are ready to fully set the Paris Agreement into life. 

CE: Could you please tell us more about the environmental standards observed during oil-gas production in the North Sea? Which latest technologies are used, and can they be applied in the Caspian?

Espen Barth Eide: There are various environmental regulations of the oil- and gas production in Norway. For example, a lot has been done to reduce the methane emissions from oil and gas production. This is crucial, and I am glad to see an increased focus on this internationally. The concentration of methane in the atmosphere is increasing faster than ever since 1980. We have to reduce these emissions globally in order to limit global warming to 1,5 degrees. Therefore, Norway and more than 100 other countries signed the Global Methane Pledge in Glasgow during the climate summit in November. In several countries a lot could be done to reduce methane emissions from the oil and gas production with cost-efficient measures, and I am happy that this pledge brings attentions to this.

CE: What do you think about the massive use of hydrogen as a fuel, since Norway has sufficient water resources for natural electrolysis?

Espen Barth Eide:  I believe hydrogen is an area where Norway can contribute to the ambition of reducing emissions in several sectors of the economy. We consider hydrogen to be clean as long as it is produced with close to, or zero, emission. Blue hydrogen produced from natural gas with CCS and green hydrogen produced by electrolysis of water using renewable energy are not mutually exclusive, as the need to cut emissions is urgent. For fully unlocking the possibilities of hydrogen and making it commercially viable, we need to look at the entire value chain: production, distribution and use of hydrogen. Developing this value chain is of high priority to my government. We have strengthened support for increased efforts on development and innovation on hydrogen value chain.

 

Thank you for the interview

 

 

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