Friday, January 28

SV and NHO agree on a climate agreement for the oil industry. The Labor Party and the Socialist People’s Party will first investigate the matter.

SV will exempt the oil companies from increased CO2 tax if they undertake to cut emissions. NHO supports the proposal, while the Labor Party and the Socialist People’s Party will investigate the matter further.

SV’s parliamentary representative Lars Haltbrekken receives support from NHO on a proposal for a climate agreement for the oil industry.

In the budget settlement with the Labor Party and the Socialist People’s Party, SV has received an order from the government to “study a climate agreement with the petroleum industry to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from Norwegian oil and gas production”.

– SV’s goal is that the agreement will oblige the oil companies to cut a minimum of 55 percent of 1990 emissions by 2030. Then the oil companies will take their fair share of the Norwegian goal of cutting 55 percent, says SV’s climate spokesman, Lars Haltbrekken.

SV believes the solution lies in copying the NOx agreement between the government and industry. Haltbrekken characterizes the agreement as “a huge success”.

Norway introduced a tax on emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx) in 2007. Later, the Ministry of Climate and the Environment entered into an agreement with 15 business organizations to reduce emissions.

Companies that joined the agreement were exempted from tax on NOx emissions. But they pay an amount to the NOx fund. These funds are distributed as support to companies and the development of technology, which in turn contributes to further cuts.

Whip and carrot

– The whip towards the companies is that they have to pay a fee if they do not join the agreement. Or if they do not reach the goals. Norway struggled for many years to comply with the obligation. The agreement has led us to reach our obligations.

– So here it is just a matter of copying the NOx fund and getting started, says Haltbrekken and outlines the following plan:

The Ministry of Climate and the Environment first negotiates with NHO and the industry on a budget for annual cuts until 2030. The individual oil companies sign and commit to cuts. Those who join avoid the increased CO2 tax.

– As long as they reach the annual cuts, we politicians keep our fingers off the barrel, Haltbrekken promises.

NHO: Extremely demanding

Deputy CEO Anniken Hauglie of NHO agrees that the NOx fund is a success. She thinks the SV proposal is a “good proposal”.

– The business community and the petroleum industry have for years proposed establishing a CO2 fund based on the model of the NOx fund. In general, we are not happy about increased CO2 taxes. But if they come, they should go to a fund that partially returns the funds to the business community and new technology, says Hauglie.

According to Hauglie, the industry “itself has said that it will reduce emissions significantly”.

– It requires large investments in technology that today in part does not exist. A fund will be able to accelerate the development of new technology, she says.

– Is the petroleum industry ready to cut 55 percent of emissions by 2030?

– The petroleum industry and the rest of the business community want to contribute and will do what they can. But it’s going to be extremely demanding. It requires solutions in technology that do not exist today. Therefore, it is important that as much of the increase as possible goes to the fund, she says.

Looking forward to investigation

The Labor Party’s finance spokesman, Eigil Knutsen, says on behalf of the Labor Party and the Socialist People’s Party that “cutting emissions on the shelf is absolutely crucial to achieving the climate goals in 2030”.

– Climate agreement with the business community on emissions cuts is one of the key tools the Labor Party has said we will use to achieve the climate goals. Not just for the oil industry, but for larger parts of the business community, says Knutsen.

He will not conclude on the solution already:

– There are many ways in which such a climate agreement with the petroleum industry can be formulated. The goal is to cut emissions most effectively. Such assessments will appear in a report. I look forward to it being on the table, so we can get to work, says Knutsen.

In any case, the industry will not escape the approved increase in the CO2 tax for 2022. According to SV, the carrot for the industry is an “offer to avoid the announced future increases”.

SV wants the fee to be increased to NOK 3,000 per. tonnes, while the government wants an increase to NOK 2,000.

– We believe the oil industry will avoid future increases. It’s the carrot in this arrangement. Then they collect the money themselves and decide for themselves what measures they will implement, says Haltbrekken.

– This is a method we know works. This can give us momentum in the emission cuts in Norway. The oil companies are responsible for the largest pollution of CO2 in Norway, he says.

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