mandag 23. september 2013

Climate policies in Norway and the EU

By a group of PhD students who have attended the NorRen Summer School 2013.

Emissions of greenhouse gases (GHG) have become a huge problem worldwide. The global temperature is expected to increase over the next century with potentially devastating consequences. As a part of the Climate and Energy Package the EU decided on the 20-20-20 goal by 2020 with the intention of limiting the global warming to two degrees Celsius by 2050. 20-20-20 refers to a 20 % reduction in GHG emissions, 20 % improvement in energy efficiency, and 20 % use of renewable energy in the EU. In order for this goal to be achieved, Norway set a national target of 67.5 % renewable energy [1]. Figure 1 shows how the GHG emissions are distributed within different sectors in EU and Norway. It is obvious that Norway is in a different situation than the rest of Europe, which will be reflected in the way the country plans to reduce its GHG emissions compared to in the EU.
Figure 1.  Emissions by sector in the EU and Norway in 2009. Adapted from [2,3].

Emission reductions
Norway  has already a high renewable share in its energy mix, and improving its energy efficiency by 20 %  is a sensible and could be possible to implement. Reducing the GHG emission by 20 % may have different implication for Norway compared to elsewhere in the EU. Many  European countries rely on resources such as coal and natural gas for their electricity generation. The CO2 emissions from these power plants are considerable, and stand for about 31 % of the total emissions in the EU (Figure 1). A quick comparison reveals that this is not the case in Norway where about 97 % of the electricity is produced through hydropower and the majority of the GHG emission originates from industry, transport and petroleum.
The difference between Norway and EU when it comes to CO2 emission indicates that different paths should be taken if the emission reduction targets are to meet. The International Energy Agency (IEA) , based on the Times model, has estimated the amount of sector-wise GHG reduction possible to achieve  for the so called two and four degree (2DS and 4DS) global temperature increase scenarios.
This work can be found in reports given by the Nordic Energy Technological Perspective (NETP) and Energy Technology Perspective (ETP) [5,6]. Among the many interesting points  in these reports is that while many European countries show potential for large GHG reduction within the energy sector,  the main reduction in Norway,should mainly come from  industry and transport sectors. These sectors are the one the country has chosen to focus on.
The relative emission reductions possible to achieve in Norway and the EU in the transport and industry sectors can be seen in Figure 2 [4,5]. Here, the 4DS has been chosen as a reference case. The reduction shown is relative both with respect to the sectors and senarios. Note that reduction predicted to happen in the transport and industry sectors in Norway amounts almost to 100% of the estimated reduction over the coming 50 years.
In EU the two sectors represent less than 60% of the estimated total emission reduction and significant reductions is expected to come from the power sector.
Figure 2. Relative emission reduction between the 2DS and the 4DS scenarios in EU and Norway. Adapted from [5]. 
The NETP report points out that, the industry sector will realize the greatest emission reductions the first 10 – 15 years. It is suggested that this can be realized through improving the efficiency, investing in new production technologies, shifting from fossil fuels to e.g. biomass, by carbon capture and storage and by improving recycling of waste material [6].  
According to the NETP scenario the reductions in the transport sector will mostly occur after 2020. The mitigation to reduce GHG emission within the transport sector are primarily related to reducing usage of fossil fuels, efficiency increase, and modal shift to public transport [4, 6]. This can for instance be  possible to achieve, by introducing biofules and electrifying  the transport fleet.
In NETP the 2DS points to a 20 % shift from private to public transportion system. More details on the specific mitigations required to reach this goal can be found in Klimakur 2020 [4] and can be summarized as infrastructural investments in the public transport sector together with increased toll-road fees in large cities and reducing the  price for public transportation.

Our suggestions
In order for Norway to contribute to limit global warming to only two degrees, we suggest first and foremost more offensive policies should target the industry and the transport sector, since  the largest emission cuts can be only come from these sectors. To reach the goals presented by the ETP and NETP reports for the transport sector, more attention should be given to biofuels, public transportation and electrification of transportation. This will not only be beneficial for the global environment, but will also benefit the local communities through better air quality and less pollution.
Policies should also target the industry sector. The industry sector in Norway is subject to strong competition from low cost countries and strict policy regulations for emission can easily cause some businesses to close down or flag out. Policies targeting emission reduction from this sector should, if possible, be subsidized. It does not help the global environment to move industry to countries with less strict regulations. Since the NETP shows that industry has the most reduction potential in the first 10 to 15 years, industry should also be the first priority for emission reduction policies.
[1], retrieved 15.08.2013.
[2] Eurostat/European Environment Agency (EEA) (2009).
[3] Statistisk sentralbyrå (2009), "Klimagasser fra norsk økonomisk aktivitet, etter næring og komponent".
[4] Klimakur 2020 (2010).
[5] Internation Energy Agency (2012), "Energy Technology Perspectives 2012".
[6] Nordic Energy Research (2013), "Nordic Energy Technology Perspectives".

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