Free Political Responses Essay Sample
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Green House Gas (GHG) emissions have been around since the 1980s. In the late 1980s, there was proof of adverse effects on global climate. Such resulted in the call for action by nations around the world to control GHG emission levels from human activities in their respective countries. Evidently, there has been a decline, to date, of GHG emission levels with some countries doing well than others. In Norway, for example, the oil and gas industry emerges as the greatest source of GHG emissions. However, the level of environmentally harmful chemicals discharged is quite low.
Gaseous emissions in Norway account for approximately 5 % of the total GHG emissions. Norway has, over the years, witnessed a reduction of close to a half in emission levels since the early 1990s. Such is as a result of political and technological responses to the oil and gas sectors. With the substantive achievement of reduced GHG emission levels, there still exists room for improvement in most sectors that will see Norway achieve an even greater reduction of such emissions by the year 2035.
The political responses to GHG emissions in Norway are manifest in the government’s formulation and implementation of an ambitious climate policy as witnessed over the last decade. The Climate Policy in Norway has a foundation on the stipulated goals of the Kyoto Protocol and the Convention on Climate Change. Such calculated goals coupled with the systematic considerations of the greenhouse effects provide the Norwegian government with a stable platform to address GHG emissions that have, over the years, raised environmental concerns since the 1980s. The Norwegian government addresses most GHG emission sources using economic measures such as tax levies and emissions trading. Such measures have the impact of penalizing emissions. Norway continues to campaign for cost-effectiveness across GHG emissions and their sources both nationally and internationally.
High carbon tax forms the main policy implementation tool and saw its first implementation in 1991. Statistically, carbon taxes levied by the Norwegian government are among the highest in the world. CO2 emissions data, therefore, provides a good measurement of evaluating the effectiveness of carbon taxes as a policy implementation tool (Bruvoll and Larsen, 2002). The inventories of Norway’s GHG emissions comprise of emissions such as; CO2, methane, N2O, per-fluorocarbons, Sulphur-hexafluoride and hydrofluorocarbons. The table shown below indicates the emissions for the different components between 1990 and 2013:
Figure1. Emissions of greenhouse gases in Norway between 1990 and 2013
The white (2007) paper details the objectives of the Norwegian climate policy and the policy instruments to achieve those goals. The objectives include the following:
The Norwegian government has an obligation, under the Kyoto Protocol, to control the country’s annual GHG emissions for the period of 2008 and 2012 to levels not exceeding the emission levels witnessed in 1990 by more than 1%. In this case, the Kyoto Protocol provides an additional set of measures for the Norwegian government, to complement its national measures in accomplishing their GHG emission pledges.
The Norwegian government also has the obligation of ensuring reduced GHG emissions in 2020 by approximately 30% of the GHG emissions witnessed in 1990. The Norwegian government is optimistic that such an objective is achievable through a reduction of 15-17 million tons of CO2. Statistics indicates that such levels of CO2 reduction would contribute to approximately two-thirds of the total reductions attributed to Norway.
The Norwegian government has, in addition, made a pledge towards achieving a carbon-neutral environment. It seeks to achieve 100% GHG emissions in the country latest by the year 2050.
The establishment of “Klimakur” in 2008 by the Norwegian government serves to reassure Norway’s commitment towards achieving the 2020 target. The Norwegian government has plans to make reviews in every five years with the aim of assessing the use of policy instruments as well as making recommendations regarding their future use.
Technological responses address the ways in which the government leverages technology to implement enacted policies. Carbon capture and storage (CCS) plays a significant role in CO2 emissions worldwide. As part of Norway’s GHG emission control, the Norwegian government supports CCS in addition to renewables and energy efficiency (Christiansen, 2002).
Driven by heavy tax imposed on CO2 emissions for the petroleum sector, Norway has, since 1996, gained extensive experience in harvesting CO2 from natural gas offshores and in ecological storage of CO2 under the North Sea. Globally, there are five large-scale CSS projects, and two of them conduct their operations in Norway. Such is an indication of the government’s strong commitment towards significantly supporting further CCS technology development, demonstration, and widespread deployment.
Since the 1980s, Norway has, over the years, participated actively in climate policies. Tax levies on CO2 emissions introduced in 1991, for example, have significantly contributed to a decline in such emissions on the Norwegian Continental Shelf. The area is one of the primary contributors to CO2 emissions since most of the power generated from the area is hydro-based. CO2 tax levy considerably makes a contribution as among the main drivers of CSS commercial implementation by the Norwegian government. Evidently, the Norwegian government continues to pump fund towards CSS-based research. It also avails funds for technological development and deployment. In the years 2009 and 2010, for instance, the Norwegian government provided funds amounting to EUR 600 million. Such highlights the government’s commitment to supporting the importance of global cooperation with respect to CCS. UNFCCC and the Kyoto Protocol are the main platforms under which Norway supports global action (“Energy Policies of IEA Countries”, 2011).
Globally, Norway is among the most proactive partners in terms of reducing HGH emissions. The Norwegian government adopts regulatory frameworks, such as EU directives, within the oil and gas industries. In 2009, for instance, hydropower accounted for approximately 89% of the total with the remaining percentage shared between traditional biomass and waste.
The Norwegian climate policy has a firm foundation on the Kyoto Protocol and Convention on Climate Change goals. Currently, the Norwegian government has set up comprehensive measures to control GHG emissions with the greater objective of achieving a GHG emission-free environment. As such, it is currently working towards ensuring maximum global temperatures of 2º C compared to the pre-industrial level. The move is crucial to avoid life-threatening climate changes.
The move also requires global efforts from all nations since it is a global issue. Global GHG emission levels have to decline by between 50 and 85 % by the year 2050. Norway’s Ministry of the Environment has the responsibility to coordinate and implement the Norwegian climate policy across different sectors. Other ministries are also responsible for implementation of the same in their various sectors (“Norway`s Fifth National Communication”, 2009).
Bruvoll, A., & Larsen, B. (2002). Greenhouse gas emissions in Norway: Do carbon taxes work? Oslo: Statistisk Sentralbyra.
Christiansen, A. (2002). New renewable energy developments and the climate change issue: A case study of Norwegian politics. Energy Policy, 235-243.
Energy Policies of IEA Countries: Norway 2011. (2011). Paris: OECD Publishing.
Norwegian Climate Policy (White Paper), Report no. 34, 2006-2007.
Status report as of December 2009. (2009). Norway`s Fifth National Communication under the Framework Convention on Climate Change.
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