Nordic ministers join forces to accelerate Paris Agreement policy steps

Date: 29/01/2019

The Nordic countries are forming a united front to fight climate change. That was the message from Nordic government leaders and climate ministers who met in Helsinki, Finland last week.

It is full speed ahead for the green transition in the Nordic region, and the countries are coming together to increase climate ambitions on a global scale. That is the clear message from Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Iceland and Finland, after a meeting held on 25 January between the countries’ prime ministers and climate ministers.

Specifically, the countries will work to strengthen the contributions towards the Paris Climate Agreement in order to achieve the 1.5 degree objective. In addition, the Nordic countries will increase cooperation regarding the green transition of the transport sector, as well as research on CO2 absorption and storage. It is crucial that the Nordic countries stand together and share experience and knowledge, a press release from the Danish Ministry of Energy, Utilities and Climate explains.

“With this agreement, we are sending a clear signal to the EU and the rest of the world, that the Nordic countries are taking the climate challenges very seriously. We can, and will not, leave the challenges to the next generation. The Nordic countries have historically been responsible for an active climate and environmental policy, and we must continue and further develop this. We must lead the way. That is why I am very pleased that we have found common ground on a Nordic climate policy direction,” said Minister of Energy, Utilities and Climate Lars Chr. Lilleholt.

Danish focus on green transport
At the meeting in the Finnish capital, the Minister put particular emphasis on the green transition in the transport sector – including the government’s climate and air proposition, where the government will prohibit the sale of new gasoline and diesel cars by 2030. An ambition that several of the Nordic countries share.

“It is essential for Denmark that we establish a time schedule in the EU for phasing out of gasoline and diesel cars. Therefore, I have encouraged my Nordic colleagues to collaborate in this area. For example, we can stand together to push the European Commission for a timetable for phasing out gasoline and diesel cars in the EU. The more countries from the Nordic region and the EU that set ambitious goals for green cars, the greater the pressure on the producers, and therefore a higher demand from the Nordic electric and hybrid car owners,” said Lars Chr. Lilleholt.

The Nordic countries have signed a declaration that strengthens the Nordic collaboration by:

  • Working towards climate neutrality
  • Increasing the contribution to the Paris Climate Agreement
  • Decarbonising the transport sector
  • Increasing research in the development of CO2 absorption and storage
  • Helping consumers make climate-friendly choices, by, for example, a labelling scheme

The Nordic climate ministers will follow up on the statement and invite the Nordic Council of Ministers to participate in this work.

Source: Danish Ministry of Energy, Utilities and Climate (in Danish)