A 55% reduction of emissions by 2030 would be aligned with the Paris Agreement according to the 1.5°C domestic emissions pathway derived by our analysis. However, under current policies, Norway is projected to fall well short of achieving its NDC.
Norwayʼs total GHG emissions
excl. LULUCF MtCO₂e/yr
- 1.5°C compatible pathways
- Middle of the 1.5°C compatible range
- Current policy projections
- 1.5°C emissions range
- Historical emissions
Norway’s updated NDC, submitted in February 2020, targets at least a 50% and towards 55% emissions reduction compared to 1990 levels by 2030.1
1 Norwegian Government. Update of Norway’s nationally determined contribution. 1–16 (2020).
2 International Energy Agency. Energy data and statistics. (2021). (Accessed: 2nd February 2020).
3 Climate Action Tracker. Country Summary: Norway. (2021). (Accessed: 2nd February 2021).
4 Statistics Norway. Emissions to air. (2021). (Accessed: 2nd February 2021).
5 Norwegian Government. Norway’s long-term low-emission strategy for 2050. (2020).
6 Gavenas, E., Rosendahl, K. E. & Skjerpen, T. CO2 emissions from Norwegian oil and gas extraction. (2015).
7 IEA. World Energy Balances 2019. (2020).
8 Klesty, V. Electric cars rise to record 54% market share in Norway in 2020. Reuters (2021).
9 Norsk elbilforening. Electric Car Stock. (2021).
10 Norwegian Government. Norway’s comprehensive climate action plan. (2021).
11 Buli, N. & Adomaitis, N. Norway’s plans to raise carbon tax draw oil industry ire. Reuters (2021).
12 Norwegian Environmental Agency. Norway’s Fourth Biennial Report. (2020).
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). (Accessed: 28th November 2018).
16 Reuters. Oil producer Norway bans use of heating oil in buildings. (2017). (Accessed: 4th September 2017).
17 Energy Facts Norway. Electricity Production. (2021).
18 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.
A fair share contribution to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions compatible with the Paris Agreement would require Norway to go further than its domestic target, and provide substantial support for emission reductions to developing countries on top of its domestic reductions.
Norway’s current 2050 target is to become a ‘low carbon society’, which the government has quantified as an 80-95% reduction in GHG emissions below 1990 levels. The government has announced its plans to amend the Climate Change Act to include a stronger 90-95% target, however this has not yet been approved by parliament. This would be aligned with a 1.5°C compatible pathway which would require remaining emissions levels of 93% below 1990 levels (excl. LULUCF) by 2050.18 Norway will need to balance its remaining emissions to reach net-zero GHG by 2050.
- Norway’s electricity generation comes predominately from hydropower, which constituted 90% of total generation in 2020, with a further 8.5% generated by wind power and less than 2% coming from fossil fuel generation.1,7
- The limited remaining fossil fuel generation would need to be phased out more or less immediately to be compatible with a 1.5°C trajectory, with natural gas generation phased out by 2023 at the latest.
- Upgrading and expanding existing hydropower facilities could be a way to provide on demand power to facilitate the phasing out of remaining coal and gas plants.
- With Norway’s mostly decarbonised power sector, over half of homes in Norway are operating close to zero carbon heating systems through the use of heat pumps.
- To be aligned with 1.5°C building sector pathways, Norway would need to continue along its current decarbonisation trajectory by eliminating the remaining oil and gas consumption through further electrification, mostly by 2030, and entirely shortly.
- While oil and gas production including fugitive emissions constitutes over half of Norway’s industry emissions, 1.5°C compatible emissions pathways indicate that Norway would need to reduce direct CO₂ emissions by at least 62% below 2019 levels by 2030, a steeper reduction than needed for total emissions.
- A long history of policy measures to encourage electric vehicle (EV) adoption has helped Norway to achieve the world’s highest share of EV sales in total car sales, reaching 65% in 2021. However, the country would need to pursue its efforts to align with 1.5°C compatible pathways, by reducing transport sector CO₂ emissions by at least 57% below 2019 levels by 2030.