The Government of Norway has been bestowed with the 2016 Global Standard-Setter award by the Rainforest Alliance this spring. It was the first time that the New York-based global nonprofit organization dedicated to conservation of tropical forests awarded a country for its leading efforts to protect forests and mitigate climate change.
This award was handed out to the Norwegian Ministry of Climate and Environment at Rainforest Alliance’s annual spring gala in New York City. It is the Ministry of Climate and Environment that has chief responsibility for the Nordic government’s environmental policy.
“We are recognizing thought leaders who are addressing some of the most significant challenges we face today,” said Nigel Sizer, the newly appointed president of the Rainforest Alliance, in a statement.
Earlier that day, at the organization’s annual summit, the Norwegian Minister of Climate and Environment Vidar Helgesen spoke about Norway being a paradox nation.
“We’re living very well off of fossil fuels, it’s no secret … but at the same time we’re very mindful of the urgency of green transformation, that’s why we’re doing our best in transportation policies, which are one of the most aggressive in the world,” said Helgesen at the summit, referring to his country’s strong measures to reduce emissions in the transport sector.
Indeed, the Nordic nation is putting its money where its mouth is in terms of its sustainable and ecofriendly efforts. And here are five actions that the Scandinavian country, which encompasses mountains, glaciers and deep coastal fjords, is undertaking to make sustainability a reality:
- Norway has pledged to cut emissions by 40 percent by 2030 compared to 1990 levels. Also, electric mobility is key. Electric vehicles have generous support schemes to help spur demand for these ways of transport. So far in 2016, four out of 10 news cars sold in Norway are EV’s or hybrids, according to Helgesen.
- The Nordic nation has pledged up to 3 billion NOK a year to help save the world’s tropical forests while improving the livelihoods of those who live off, in and near forests.
- The Ministry of Climate and Environment budget for 2016 provides a sound basis for increased activity in the fields of climate, cleaning of polluted seabed and cultural heritage.
- Efforts are being made by the government for more climate-friendly transport by way of increased appropriations to pedestrian and cycling paths and also by maintaining a high level of railway funding through appropriations and tax relief for green shipping.
- Norway is part of a new agreement to protect the Congo Basin. The Central African Forest Initiative and the Minister of Finance of the DR Congo signed a letter of intent for $200 million dollars to address deforestation and forest degradation in the country and to promote sustainable development, and the Scandinavian country is onboard to help, according to Norway’s International and Forest Initiative website.
Aside from the aforementioned efforts, Norway is also working to conserve biodiversity, by protecting both forest and marine areas.
“Nature provides us with important ecosystem services. Biodiversity loss is one of the greatest challenges facing our countries,” said Helgesen in an exclusive interview with R&D Magazine.
Marine pollution and microplastic waste is the next concern the Nordic country plans to tackle.
“Business is moving fast and going green at an impressive pace, and government cannot lag behind” Helgesen added. “If we are going to reduce emissions and at the same time remain a competitive economy, we need to take the right steps today.”
“Investing in low-carbon infrastructure and technology is something we must do now—waiting is not an option when combatting global warming,” he concluded.