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Challenging to achieve long-term climate targets

Greenhouse gas emissions have increased by more than eight per cent since 1990 and are expected to continue to increase up until 2020. Several measures have been implemented to try to curb growth in emissions, but they have not helped to reverse this trend. - The reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in the sectors must be given higher priority if the climate policy targets for 2020 are to be achieved, says Auditor General Jørgen Kosmo. The work on reducing greenhouse gas emissions is a long-term intersectoral task.
Published 4/15/2010 12:30 PM

Document 3:5 (2009–2010) The Office of the Auditor General’s investigation into target achievement in climate policy was submitted to the Storting on 15 April.

Greenhouse gas emissions from petroleum activity have nearly doubled since 1990, and in recent years emissions have increased more than the level of oil and gas production. The investigation shows that great emphasis is placed on the operators’ own assessments of what is technically and financially feasible. -
The development solutions that are chosen will determine the emission levels for many years to come, says Mr Kosmo. - When assessing profitability, it is important to take into account that the emissions allowance price is expected to rise. Measures implemented at a later stage are very expensive.

The investigation also shows that targets for increased production of renewable energy will not be reached. Norway has good access to hydroelectric power, and greenhouse gas emissions from the heating of buildings and electricity production are low. The energy transition must be seen in conjunction with sectors where emissions are growing. - A transition to environmentally friendly energy use, for example in the transport and petroleum sectors, requires that renewable energy sources become more widely available, emphasises Jørgen Kosmo.

Despite the increase in domestic greenhouse gas emissions, the Office of the Auditor General believes that Norway will probably meet its Kyoto commitments for the period 2008–2012. However, Norway is heavily dependent on purchasing emissions allowances in order to reach its climate policy targets. The investigation shows that the effect of such purchases from developing countries is uncertain. - It is important, therefore, to evaluate the policy instrument's effect, both in terms of its contribution to emission reduction and sustainable development, says Mr Kosmo.

The Ministry of the Environment sees a review of target achievement in climate policy as relevant and important. The Ministry also refers to the report from the expert group Climate Cure 2020, which will provide an important basis for work on a separate white paper on climate policy that the Government plans to submit in autumn 2011.

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