Saturday, December 4

The Støre government will cut emissions more than Solberg. We will notice this fall, promises the Minister of Climate.


Climate duo Vestre and Barth Eide have big ambitions for how the business community will contribute to ecological change. They will actively use the state to manage the transition.

Climate Minister Espen Barth Eide (Labor Party) and Trade and Industry Minister Jan Christian Vestre (Labor Party) promise that the government will resort to climate policy already this fall.

The recent government is impatient. Already this fall, voters will notice that the left has the best climate policy. This is what Climate Minister Espen Barth Eide and Trade and Industry Minister Jan Christian Vestre (Labor Party) say in this interview with Aftenposten.

The Solberg government delivered its last budget in October. The Støre government does not have time to create a completely new budget. In a hurry, you need to submit a so-called supplemental bill to the Storting. In practice, this is a list of priority changes to Erna Solberg’s latest budget proposal.

Then continue to the Storting to find most. SV is waiting.

Aftenposten asks how quickly we will find out about the new climate policy. Eide responds that he will be honest about the fact that it is impossible for the government to “change everything in a few weeks.” But the shift in power must be felt.

– When we have said that we have greater climate ambitions than the previous government, we must show it in the additional bill, says Eide.

With him on the team, he has an impatient Minister of Commerce and Industry. Before Vestre joined the government, he was CEO of the Norwegian furniture manufacturer of the same name.

– Now I am in politics and I must understand that things take a little longer, but I promise that I will take the impatience of the business world, he says.

Demanding starting point

The work will not be easy. When the Solberg government presented its climate plan in January, they believed that the measures in it were more than enough to achieve climate goals. But that is no longer the case. When the budget came in in October, Solberg admitted that more action was needed. This is due to a miscalculation. Emissions from shipping are much higher than originally estimated.

One of the measures Solberg proposed was therefore that fuel should no longer be protected from increased CO2 taxes. That means more expensive gasoline. The Labor Party and the Socialist People’s Party, on the other hand, promise on the Hurdal platform that fuel taxes will be reduced.

The Støre government has also launched a new, more defined climate target. By 2030, 55 percent of Norway’s greenhouse gas emissions will be reduced, compared to 1990. The target applies to the entire economy and will be adopted in Norway.

Eide acknowledges that there is little to go on. One measure is for the government to prioritize emissions, as it prioritizes spending over the state budget.

– We must get rid of our remaining emissions in the best possible way. We should think about carbon budgets rather than pet projects, which are being dealt with by part of the climate movement. We will seek the most rational, profitable and efficient instruments that reduce emissions in all sectors of society. We will look for them.

– Is there any ripe fruit there?

– Yes, Eide answers.

It refers to the possibility of connecting industries. As hydrogen production. Oh, until it is good in itself. But emission-free hydrogen gas can also replace natural gas in the rest of the industry. The aim is for Norway to produce industrial goods with lower emissions. That is what Europe wants. A “race to the top”, the Minister of Climate calls it.

He says there is now a race between Sweden and Norway to be the first to produce emission-free steel. The winner will be able to take control of the entire European market, he believes.

Will use more biodiesel

The government will stimulate greater use of biofuels. The line of the Solberg government was to maintain the current rotation.

– Is an important bridge technology, because biodiesel can still be used in internal combustion engines. The time of the internal combustion engine is coming to an end, but there are plenty of them, Eide says.

The measure is more relevant in sectors where it is difficult to use other green technology. Eide mentions long-haul flight as an example.

– Perhaps biodiesel can extend the life of the internal combustion engine?

– I don’t think so in practice. The electric motor has won technologically.

In its latest budget, the Solberg government proposed to stop cutting road tolls to protect fuel from rising CO2 taxes.

– Is there scope for reducing fuel taxes, as promised on the Hurdal platform?

– Now, the previous government used reduced tolls each year that it governed. It was only when they left that they said they would not use it anymore. I have also resigned. And I know it’s easy to be tall and dark when you get off, Eide replies.

He was Minister of Defense and Minister of Foreign Affairs in the Stoltenberg governments.

– But we have a tax promise. The total tax footprint for most people should not increase. At the same time, the tax system will be used to reduce emissions.

– But according to the platform, will fuel taxes go down?

– Increasing the biofuel mix is ​​part of that package. Exactly how it will be, we can take the additional invoice.

Vestre rejects that government policy implies that private investors do not get involved. Rather, he believes that capital will increase towards green industry. – Because they see that if they don’t, maybe we will.

Active state of laws

Eide says that the Labor Party and the “civilized part of the right” agree that climate goals must be achieved. The important thing, he says, is how the objectives are to be achieved. And how to combine radical climate change with other social goals, such as greater value creation and equalization of social differences.

The most important difference between Støre and the Solberg government on climate policy, according to the two ministers, is the willingness to use the state. Government capital will now be more accessible to green industry. And the government will consider buying in particularly important industries. For example, it is a matter of establishing a new state hydro-group company. But the West promises that the government has no ideological blinders.

– It may be relevant to buy new large green industrial projects, such as hydrogen, floating offshore wind and carbon capture and storage. But it’s not always certain that state ownership is the best way to use community funds, Vestre says.

Pragmatic business policy, they call it; is the right side who have ideological blinders to use the state.

– Thatcher and Reagan are long gone. Now they have also resigned in Norway, and now it is no longer Civita’s approach to the market that will rule the country. Now we will have a greater willingness to use the muscles of the state, says Eide.

It is by no means old-fashioned, according to both of them.

– The EU does it, the United States does it, China does it. We must intensify cooperation between the state and business. And therein lies the fact that the state will do more, but we will also make demands, says Vestre.

– But should the community take greater risks?

– I believe that the richest country in the world must be willing to take a greater risk. The change we are going through now is the biggest change in recent Norwegian history. The problem here in Norway is no that we have taken too much risk. Rather we have been too cowardly to point a direction and do what works. We no longer have time for that.


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