Norway’s parliament has approved an ambitious goal of achieving climate neutrality by 2030 – bringing it forward from 2050.  Accelerated CO2 cuts and offsetting emissions from sectors such as Norway’s oil and gas industries are to drive the move towards target.

This is a result of the UN’s December 2015 climate accord – under the COP21 Paris gathering, 177 governments set a target of limiting global warming to “well below” 2 degrees Celsius compared with pre-industrial levels.

Photo: Ximonic (Simo Räsänen) via Wikimedia Commons

Photo: Ximonic (Simo Räsänen) via Wikimedia Commons

The details on how precisely this goal is to be achieved are hazy at the moment but the debate from now will centre on the specifics. To achieve this goal, oil and gas producing Norway will have to lower its carbon output or purchase carbon credits to offset its emissions, says Reuters. Norway’s greenhouse gas emissions rose by 1.5 percent to the equivalent of 53.9 million tonnes of carbon dioxide in 2015.

As phys.org explains, offsets are investments in projects that reduce carbon, for example – reforestation or afforestation, improving energy efficiency or a switch to cleaner power in poor countries.

In 2008, Norway set a target of reaching carbon neutrality by 2030, but later pushed the goal back to 2050 when international negotiations failed to reach a global deal to fight climate change.

The country already generates more than 95 percent of electricity from hydropower plants and this goal is a welcome addition to the announcement of Norway as the first country in the world to commit to zero deforestation. Thus it became the first country to ban public procurements that deplete and destroy the rainforest.