Introduction by Dagfinn Høybråten,
Secretary-General of the Nordic Council of Ministers
A Nordic contribution to COP21
COP21 in Paris will be a defining moment for the development of life and human activity on our planet. The Nordic Council of Ministers is in charge of organizing a common Nordic pavilion at the COP negotiation venue under the heading “New Nordic Climate Solutions”. The aim is to contribute to the climate dialogue – from a Nordic perspective, but with a global outlook.
In the lead up to COP21, the Nordic Environment and Climate ministers have issued a declaration calling for urgent action on climate change, particularly in the Arctic. They also stress the need for financial mechanisms to help the developing world to build a green economy which is also why the Nordic countries have pledged a total amount exceeding 1 billion USD to the Green Climate Fund.
We need economic growth and a fair distribution of the Earth’s resources in order to satisfy the world’s growing need for welfare. However, at the same time we also need to pay greater attention to our environment and the climate.
For nearly a quarter of a century, the Nordic countries have shown that it is possible to grow the economy without increasing the level of climate emissions. In fact, while GDP in the Nordic region has grown almost 50 % the last twenty years, the level of greenhouse gas emissions has gone down nearly 20 % and energy consumption likewise.
During this time, the Nordic economies have become more connected with the global economy through import and export. Carbon footprints and other alternative measures of national emissions take this into account, indicating a more gradual decoupling, but the long term trend still holds.
So, individually and collectively, the five Nordic countries have some of the most ambitious energy and climate policy agendas in the world, having set challenging targets and milestones along the road to creating a truly sustainable energy system. Two of the four articles in this issue of “Green Growth the Nordic Way” deal with the Nordic electricity market, the most integrated regional market of its kind worldwide, and the Nordic energy cooperation as such.
Through our co-operation, we improve our own societies and offer new solutions that can be implemented elsewhere. The other two articles deal with issues of a more global nature, describing the contributions of the Nordic Council of Ministers to the work on fossil fuel subsidy reform and to the groundbreaking effort on climate financing via NAMA’s, nationally appropriate mitigation actions, that we have championed.
2015 is the year of thinking and planning for a green, sustainable future. We hope our “New Nordic Climate Solutions” will add to this and invite you to read more in this issue of “Green Growth the Nordic Way” or follow our activities on www.norden.org/cop21
Secretary-General, Nordic Council of Ministers
Read more about the programme and issues highlighted at the Nordic pavilion at COP21 and see the Nordic Climate- and Environment Ministers’ Climate Change Declaration