“Norway is showing how you can use oil income to fund the transition out of oil.”
—Richard Dixon, Director of WWF Scotland
According to a report in the Guardian last week, Norway has shown that it’s taking climate change very seriously. The country already has a carbon tax: about $35 per tonne of carbon dioxide emitted for offshore oil, and that’s about to increase to more than $70 per tonne. They’re also scheduled to add a new tax of $9 per tonne of carbon dioxide emitted for the fishing industry. This will be the most aggressive climate programme for any country that produces its own oil anywhere in the world. Norway will also be dedicating more than 1.5 billion dollars to help combat the damage caused by climate change to the developing world.
There are a number of aspects of climate change that they’re planning to address:
- combat deforestation
- building regulations making all new homes carbon-neutral by 2015
- decreasing emissions from vehicles with efforts to switch to electric
Norway is the world’s third largest exporter of oil, producing three million barrels a day. The country has 51 active oil and gas fields located in the North Sea and estimates another seven billion barrels of oil in reserve that’s yet to be discovered. The country has only five million people, but with such a robust oil and natural gas export industry, it’s the world’s third richest country per capita. In fact, its oil and gas sector is the world’s richest with employees making $180,000 a year on average.
So despite the fact that it exports so much oil and natural gas and has plans to expand drilling into the Barent Sea, Norway is at least trying to offset these activities with the help of a heftier carbon tax, generating enough funds to try to make some real differences. Time will tell whether or not this approach will work.
But it’s a heck of a lot more than most countries are doing and for that I give them a lot of credit.