28th Feb 2024


Report: Nordics needs to step up the pace to achieve climate neutrality

  • Mikael Carboni Kelk, responsible for press and media in the Nordic Council of Ministers during COP28 in Dubai. (Photo: Nordic Council)
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In Global Stocktake, the UN is looking at how far countries around the world have come in delivering on the Paris Agreement on measures to combat global warming. Right up to the COP28 climate conference in Dubai, the Nordic Region has had its own independent version of the report: Nordic Stocktake — Pathways to Climate Neutrality.

The report shows how far the Nordic countries have come in their efforts to deliver on their climate goals – and in which areas more needs to be done.

Emissions are reducing too slowly

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The report shows that emissions have fallen by just 26 percent in the Nordic Region since 1990, and that much of this reduction has occurred in the energy sector. In order to achieve climate neutrality, much more needs to be done in other sectors, especially in the transport sector and industry, as well as in agriculture, land use, and forestry.

For example, the transport sector has reduced its emissions in the Nordic Region by just 5 percent since 1990, which clearly shows how much the Nordics have to change in a short space of time if they're to deliver on their climate goals.

At the same time, the report reveals that land, forests, and wetlands now sequester 30 percent less CO2 than in 1990. This demonstrates why initiatives that promote biodiversity and nature-based solutions go hand-in-hand with climate aspirations.

Potential for greater co-operation

However, the report also states that the Nordic countries have good conditions for working together in order to accelerate the transition. This can be in areas such as biofuels, negative emissions, and better instruments for management.

"The Nordic Stocktake is an excellent indicator of how far we've come and what we need to work more on in the Nordics. Although we've made good progress, we have to go even further if we're to reach our goals. The Nordic countries have both the tools and the ability to propel the green transition forwards. As the report shows, there's the potential for greater Nordic co-operation," says the Secretary General of the Nordic Council of Ministers, Karen Ellemann.

Objective: Climate neutrality by 2050

By 2050, all the Nordic countries must be climate-neutral in accordance with the countries' own national objectives, which state that climate neutrality must be achieved between 2030 and 2050.

Denmark's objective is to be climate-neutral by 2050. By 2030, emissions must be reduced by 70 percent compared to the level recorded in 1990. The objectives include all greenhouse gases and land, land use change, and forestry (LULUCF) and are laid down in the Danish Climate Act of 2020.

A government declaration proposes that climate neutrality be brought forward to 2045 and that emissions be reduced by 110 percent by 2050. This would mean that Denmark would remove a greater proportion of emissions from the atmosphere than it emits.

Environment ministers want to step up the pace

In preparation for COP28, the Nordic environment ministers have drafted a joint statement in which they emphasise the importance of bolstering efforts to curb climate change:

"We need to step up our efforts to limit the rise in global temperatures to 1.5 degrees. COP28 must send a strong political message about the importance of a science-based strategy to raise the level of our ambitions and implement climate measures in accordance with the objectives of the Paris Agreement."

In their statement, the ministers also state that they want to strengthen Nordic co-operation "in order to help the entire Nordic Region become climate-neutral well before 2050, and to continue efforts to become climate-neutral societies as early as 2045."

The declaration also mentions the Nordic Stocktake, and the ministers promise to step up Nordic co-operation in several areas in their efforts to curb climate change in accordance with the recommendations of the report.

Among other things, the Nordics can work together to reduce the potential negative impact on nature and local populations in connection with the expansion of renewable energy, and thereby improve citizens' acceptance of the green transition. The Nordic countries should also take a closer look at complex issues such as sustainable consumption and a fair and just transition.

Nordic pavilion at COP28

The Nordic Region is well represented at COP28. For instance, the Nordic Council of Ministers has a pavilion which is playing host to more than 70 events over ten days, starting on 1 December.

The pavilion programme offers a raft of topics on climate change and climate solutions. The overarching theme is the Nordic road to climate neutrality, with the aim of presenting our aspirations for a stronger, better, and more inclusive society.

The Nordic Stocktake and the environmental ministers' statement are key elements at the pavilion, with the official presentation of the report on 2 December.

The Nordic Stocktake is also a vital component in efforts to deliver Vision 2030, which is the Nordic prime ministers' vision for the region which they adopted in 2019, for the Nordic Region to be the most sustainable and integrated region in the world by 2030. The report has been funded by the Nordic Council of Ministers.

You can see the complete programme for the Nordic pavilion here

All the events in the pavilion are broadcast live here

You can read the Nordic ministers' declaration here

Fact box:

COP28 is a global climate conference organised by the UN, where world leaders come together to discuss climate change.

A key element of COP28 is the Global Stocktake, which takes a closer look at the individual countries' climate measures. In accordance with the Paris Agreement of 2015, a review must be conducted every five years.

The Paris Agreement states that the rise in global temperatures must be kept below 2 degrees, with the aim of limiting this to 1.5 degrees.

The purpose of the conference of the parties (COP) to the climate convention (UNFCCC) is that the countries agree on measures to curb global warming and its consequences.

COP28 is being held in Dubai from 30 November to 12 December.

The Nordic Stocktake is funded by the Nordic Council of Ministers and has been commissioned by the Nordic Working Group for Climate and Air (NKL) and the vision project Climate change in the Nordic Region.

For several years, the Nordic Council of Ministers has had a pavilion with a Nordic programme at the climate conference. Several of the Nordic Council of Ministers' institutions and partners are arranging programmes in the pavilion, with the overarching theme being the delivery of Vision 2030.

Author bio

Mikael Carboni Kelk is responsible for press and media in the Nordic Council of Ministers during COP28 in Dubai.


This article is sponsored by a third party. All opinions in this article reflect the views of the author and not of EUobserver.

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