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Current situation

What is Norwayʼs pathway to limit global warming to 1.5°C?

Emissions profile

Norway’s GHG emissions have remained relatively constant (between 54 and 58 MtCO₂e/yr) since the turn of the century. Since 1990, Norway’s oil and gas industry emissions have overtaken those from its manufacturing and mining sector, with the former’s emissions roughly doubling since 1990, now making up over a quarter of total emissions, while the latter’s have almost halved over the same period.4,5,6 This is despite the Norwegian oil and gas sector being subject to both the EU emissions trading scheme (EU ETS) and a domestic carbon tax with the latter having been in place since 1991.7 However, these policies have helped to keep the emissions intensity of its oil and gas extraction well below the global average.

Transport sector emissions have declined since 2014, but remain the second-largest source of energy-related GHG emissions, accounting for roughly a quarter of total emissions. Industry energy use, buildings and fugitive emissions each contribute roughly 5-6% of overall emissions, while industrial process-related emissions are responsible for about 18%. Agriculture and waste contribute 9% and 2% of total emissions respectively.

1 Norwegian Government. Update of Norway’s nationally determined contribution. 1–16 (2020).

2 Norwegian Environmental Agency. Norway’s Fourth Biennial Report. (2020).

3 Energy Facts Norway. Electricity Production.(2021).

4 Climate Action Tracker. Country Summary: Norway. (2021).

5 Statistics Norway. Emissions to air. (2021).

6 Norwegian Government. Norway’s long-term low-emission strategy for 2050. (2020).

7 Gavenas, E., Rosendahl, K. E. & Skjerpen, T. CO2 emissions from Norwegian oil and gas extraction. (2015).

8 IEA. World Energy Balances 2019 . (2020).

9 Klesty, V. Electric cars rise to record 54% market share in Norway in 2020. Reuters. (2021).

10 Norsk elbilforening. Electric Car Stock. (2021).

11 Norwegian Government. Norway’s comprehensive climate action plan. (2021).

12 Buli, N. & Adomaitis, N. Norway’s plans to raise carbon tax draw oil industry ire. Reuters. (2021).

13 Norsk elbilforening. Norwegian EV policy. (2021).

14 Avinor. Avinor and Norwegian aviation 2018. (2018).

15 Brown, M. Norway Just Mandated Zero-Emission Fjords to Lead Electric Boat Charge | Inverse. (2018).

16 Reuters. Oil producer Norway bans use of heating oil in buildings. (2017).

17 Government of Norway. 2021 Common Reporting Format (CRF) Table. (2021).

18 EHPA. Online Stats Tool. European Heat Pump Association. (2021).

19 Brekke, T., Isachsen, O. & Marton, I. Implementation of the EPBD Norway: Status in 2020. (2020).

20 Norwegian Petroleum. Production Forecasts. (2022)..

21 Solsvik, T. Norway plans to expand Arctic oil and gas drilling in new licensing round. Reuters .(2022).

22 Kurmayer, N. J. Germany, Norway agree tentative plan to build hydrogen pipeline link. Euractiv. (2022).

23 Klesty, V. Electric cars hit 65% of Norway sales as Tesla grabs overall pole. Reuters. (2022)..

24 Ferris, N. Weekly data: Why Norway leads the world for electric vehicles. Energy Monitor. (2022).

25 Holland, M. Norway Above 86% Plugin EV Share In February, Ioniq 5 Leads. CleanTechnica. (2022).

26 Government of Norway. Norway’s comprehensive climate action plan. (2021).

27 Government of Norway. National Transport Plan 2022–2033. (2021).

28 While global cost-effective pathways assessed by the IPCC Special Report 1.5°C provide useful guidance for an upper-limit of emissions trajectories for developed countries, they underestimate the feasible space for such countries to reach net zero earlier. The current generation of models tend to depend strongly on land-use sinks outside of currently developed countries and include fossil fuel use well beyond the time at which these could be phased out, compared to what is understood from bottom-up approaches. The scientific teams which provide these global pathways constantly improve the technologies represented in their models – and novel CDR technologies are now being included in new studies focused on deep mitigation scenarios meeting the Paris Agreement. A wide assessment database of these new scenarios is not yet available; thus, we rely on available scenarios which focus particularly on BECCS as a net-negative emission technology. Accordingly, we do not yet consider land-sector emissions (LULUCF) and other CDR approaches which developed countries will need to implement in order to counterbalance their remaining emissions and reach net zero GHG are not considered here due to data availability.

29 Year of full decarbonisation is based on carbon intensity threshold of 5gCO₂/MJ.

Norwayʼs current GHG emissions

MtCO₂e/yr

Displayed values

By sector

  • Power
  • Transport
  • Industry (energy use)
  • Buildings
  • Fugitive emissions
  • Other
  • Industry (processes)
  • Agriculture
  • Waste
  • LULUCF
Energy (72%)⟵ LULUCF negative emissions

By gas

  • CO₂
  • CH₄
  • N₂O
  • Other
069%0

Sectors by gas

Energy
097%0
Agriculture
00
Industry (processes)
085%0

Energy system

With very little coal and limited natural gas use in the power sector, most fossil fuel use in Norway comes from natural gas burnt in oil and gas extraction and oil demand in the transport sector.8 The remaining thermal power plants are mostly at industrial installations and are subjected to both the CO₂ tax and the EU ETS.

World-leading electric vehicle (EV) policies have been implemented in Norway leading to the world’s highest EV share of passenger vehicle sales, reaching 54% and 16% of the total vehicle stock in 2020.9,10 As a result, oil demand in the transport sector has fallen in recent years and is likely to continue this downward trajectory. In its recent climate action plan, the government has unveiled plans to reduce emissions from other, but not all, forms of transport, including ferries and buses.11

The Climate Action Plan includes a tripling of its carbon tax to USD 220/MtCO₂, placing further financial pressure on oil and gas extraction and the remaining fossil fuel combustion in the power sector.12 However, there is currently no plan to phase out these polluting sectors of the economy.

Targets and commitments

Economy-wide targets

Target type

Base year emissions target

National target

2030 Emissions Reduction Target:

  • At least 55% below 1990 by 2030 (excl. LULUCF).

Market mechanism

  • Norway’s emissions trading scheme has been linked to the EU ETS since 2008 and covers the oil and gas sector, aviation, and much of industry.2

Long-term target

  • Transformation to a low emission society by 2050 (quantified by the government as a 90-95% reduction below 1990 levels).6

Sector coverage

EnergyTransportIndustryWasteAgricultureLULUCF

Greenhouse gas coverage

CO₂CH₄NF₃HFCsN₂OSF₆

Sectoral targets

Energy

  • Non-ETS Sectors (transport, buildings, agriculture, waste management, industry and petroleum not covered under EU ETS):
    • 40% reduction in 2030 as compared to 2005 level.

Buildings

  • Ban on oil and paraffin heating systems in all buildings from 2020.16

LULUCF

  • Emissions do not exceed removals.1

Transport

  • All new cars sold from 2025 to be zero emission.13
  • Electrify all domestic aviation by 2040.14
  • Transform fjords into zero emissions control areas by 2026 (encourages the uptake of electric ferries).15

Footnotes