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Norway CO2 cuts of up to 80 pct "dead cheap": study

Norway CO2 cuts of up to 80 pct "dead cheap": study

Norway can axe emissions of greenhouse gases by up to 80 percent by 2050 without constraining economic growth in the world's number three oil exporter, a government-appointed commission said on Wednesday.
"Cutting emissions ... is important, it's feasible and it's dead cheap," Joergen Randers, a professor of economics at the Norwegian School of Management who led the commission, told a news conference with Environment Minister Helen Bjoernoy.
The report urged Norway to fight global warming to 2050 mainly by saving energy and by capturing and burying carbon dioxide emitted by gas-fired power plants. The gases would be piped offshore and entombed in porous rocks.
Overall, 15 proposed measures would cut emissions of greenhouse gases by 50-80 percent by 2050 as part of a drive to slow climate change that many scientists say could bring more floods, droughts, heatwaves and rising sea levels.
Bjoernoy said the centre-left government would study the proposals.
Other countries including Britain, France and Sweden and U.S. states such as California, are also planning big cuts in emissions from power plants, industry and cars in coming decades.
Such long-term cuts go far beyond an average 5.2 percent reduction in emissions from 1990 levels by 2008-2012 agreed by 35 industrial nations including Norway under the United Nations' Kyoto Protocol.
Many governments worry the cuts will cost too much.
But Randers said the commission's proposals would affect Norway's gross domestic product (GDP) in 2050 by less than 0.5 percent over more than four decades compared to a forecast with no climate measures.
Under the proposals, the main cost would be a roughly 30 percent rise in the cost of generating electricity from gas-fired power plants, to 0.6 crowns ($0.09) per kilowatt hour from 0.44. Taxpayers would shoulder the extra cost.
And energy savings in other areas, including more efficient heating of buildings, would offset the costs. Development of carbon capture from power plants could also give Norway a technological edge.
Environment Minister Bjoernoy said rich nations with high per capita emissions such as Norway had a "moral duty" to act first, before developing countries such as China.
She also said Norway, the world's number three oil exporter behind Saudi Arabia and Russia with output of about 3 million barrels per day, would reach its 2012 goal under Kyoto even though Norway is now far above target.
U.S. President George W. Bush pulled out of Kyoto in 2001, saying it would cost too much and wrongly excluded developing nations from 2012 targets.
The WWF environmental group urged Norway to adopt the commission's recommendations, saying that even Norway's oil companies such as Statoil and Norsk Hydro were urging action to slow global warming.


Updated : 2021-02-28 21:15 GMT+08:00