Norway’s oil ministry plans to auction up to 136 new exploration blocks, including 125 in the Arctic Barents Sea, for oil and gas extraction. “We need new discoveries to uphold employment and value creation. I have good faith that the opportunities we now offer in the Barents Sea and the Norwegian Sea will be attractive to companies,” said Tina Bru, Norway’s minister of petroleum and energy.
Norway and Germany have suspended their funding to the Amazon Fund, criticizing President Jair Bolsonaro’s environmental policies. Ola Elvestuen, Norway´s environment minister, stated that Brazil broke an agreement with Norway and Germany by eliminating the board and the technical committee of the Fund with no plans for replacement. Created in 2008, the Amazon Fund finances projects to protect the Amazon rain forest. Norway is the largest contributor to the Fund, donating $1.2 billion to date, followed by Germany at $68 million.
Nearly a decade after Indonesia and Norway signed an agreement to preserve Indonesia's rainforests, Indonesia is ready to receive funding from Norway for reducing its carbon dioxide emissions from deforestation in 2017.
Plastic waste is building up in the wilderness of the Norwegian Arctic. Researchers are particularly concerned about huge concentrations of microplastic fragments in sea ice. Norwegian fishermen are worried that their fish stocks may lose their reputation for being untouched by pollution. A report from the Norwegian Polar Institute to the recent Arctic Frontiers conference in Tromsø says there's a great need for more research into the extent of possible harm from plastic. For the full story see http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-42947155.
Norway will study ways to make its economy greener and reduce dependence on oil and gas. The government believes oil reserves are likely to lose value amid efforts to slow climate change. A government commission will examine ways to insulate itself from financial risks linked to climate change, and the government believes it needs to look for new businesses based on emerging technology to meet its goals. For the full story see http://uk.reuters.com/article/us-norway-climatechange/norway-to-study-s…
Norway told visiting Brazilian President Michel Temer that it would slash its payments to help safeguard the Amazon rainforest in 2017 by more than half, to about $35 million, because of a rise in forest destruction. Norway has invested more than $1.1 billion in an Amazon Fund since 2008 to help Brazil protect the forests, which are under threat from logging and their conversion to farmland. Temer said Brazil was working to protect the Amazon, for example by expanding national parks. Brazil's deforestation climbed to 8,000 square kilometres (3,088 square miles) in 2016.
Norway's sovereign wealth fund will ask the banks in which it has invested to disclose how their lending contributes to greenhouse gas emissions. The fund has in the past measured the carbon footprint of its investments in equities and bonds, and now is pushing companies to disclose both their carbon emissions and their plans to handle the risk of climate change. The fund does not plan to change how it decides to invest in the U.S., which accounted for nearly 40% of its investments in 2016. For the full story see http://uk.reuters.com/article/us-norway-swf-ceo-idUKKBN18T26V
The parliament of Norway agreed unanimously to pursue carbon neutrality, cutting Norway's net greenhouse gas emissions to zero, by 2030—20 years earlier than its most recent goal of carbon neutrality by 2050. In order to meet this goal, either Norways' carbon output must be lowered or the country must purchase enough carbon credits to offset its emissions. In 2008, Norway set the same goal, but later pushed the timeline back to 2050 because international negotiations failed at reaching a global climate change deal.
Oslo announced its plan to ban cars from the central city by 2019 in order to reduce pollution. Norway’s capital city is set to be the first European capital city to have a comprehensive and permanent ban on cars. Oslo recently elected a new city council comprised of members of the Green Party, the Labor Party, and the Socialist Left. A lead negotiator for the Green Party explained that a car-free city will be better for pedestrians and cyclists. The city plans to build more than 37 miles of bike lanes between now and 2019.
Norway announced that it will pay Brazil’s Amazon Fund $1 billion USD by the end of the year. This payment fulfills a pledge that Norway made to Brazil in 2008 to compensate deforestation reduction. Norway made another $1 billion USD pledge to Indonesia in 2008, but Indonesia’s efforts have fallen short. Brazil’s accomplishments were commended by the Norwegian Minister of Climate and Environment, as well as by U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.