Norway to Consider Increasing 2020 CO2 Cuts
Norway will consider cutting its greenhouse gas emissions by more than a planned 30 percent by 2020 if it helps a U.N. climate deal due in Copenhagen in December, Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg said Monday.
Norway, the world's number five oil exporter, has already adopted a goal of cutting its emissions by 30 percent by 2020, partly by using its vast oil wealth to buy carbon emissions quotas on international markets.
"I won't rule out ... that we can open up to going beyond 30 percent if it contributes to reaching an agreement" in Copenhagen, the newly re-elected Stoltenberg told NRK public radio before flying to New York for a U.N. climate summit on Tuesday.
Norway's goals are already among the most ambitious in the world. Germany is aiming for a 40 percent cut by 2020, and some Norwegian environmentalists want to match this.
The Nordic nation has also set an even tougher goal of becoming "carbon neutral" by 2030, when all emissions such as those from burning fossil fuels would be offset, for instance by investing in forests that soak up greenhouse gases as they grow.
"We've already shown willingness to make considerable cuts," said Stoltenberg, whose three-party center-left coalition won re-election last week.
"I think we will get an agreement in Copenhagen ... what I'm more worried about is whether it will be a strong enough agreement," he said.
Developing nations say that industrialized countries should cut by at least 40 percent by 2020, the top end of a 25 to 40 percent range outlined by the U.N.'s climate panel to avoid the worst of projected desertification, floods and rising seas.
Norway has a fund of almost $430 billion saved from oil so can afford emissions quotas abroad for its 4.8 million people.
(Reuters Sep. 2009)