Saturday, March 22, 2008

Cutting GHG Emissions in Norway

I recently read this article in the New York Times about Norway's plans to become carbon neutral by 2030 and the international criticism their plan has sparked. The problem with Norway's plan is that it relies heavily on "sleight-of-hand accounting and huge donations to environmental projects abroad, rather than meaningful emissions reductions." Also, Norway's carbon dioxide accounting does not include the greenhouse gas emissions it exports to other countries along with the petroleum and natural gas it supplies to the world. Norway's leaders defend their policies by saying that they don't want their carbon reduction commitment to make industry the losers.

I think this article highlights a huge problem the world is facing in regards to climate change, how can we decrease our emissions without compromising our comfort? One solution critics have offered in Norway is for the country to cut it's fossil fuel production activities and to instead grow a new solar panel production industry. Despite our resistance to the idea that combating climate change will require us to make changes in our daily lives, I think ultimately we must accept this fact. Norway's plan has proven that even the most ambitious countries cannot make the changes needed by continuing to pursue business as usual.

1 comment:

Stephanie Freeman said...

I agree with Amanda that the comfort vs. carbon footprint argument is a big one. No matter how much people want to fantasize about having “zero emissions” and being “carbon neutral”, the reality is that a lot of people do not want to give up the comfort we’ve all come to enjoy. Unfortunately, I think Americans are especially resistant to losing comfort and convenience as compared with some of the rest of the world. This is a real irony since in some ways we have the most work to do.

I think it speaks volumes that car manufacturers, and the American people to a lesser extent, are still resisting mandatory increased fuel economy for cars. I’m kind of surprised that people still don’t want to give up larger cars with tons of features to aid in the fuel economy they are getting. With the price of oil where it is today, people are starting to come around to hybrids and smaller cars, but it is progressing slowly.

I love the comfort of my Camry, and luckily I get a reasonable ~27 mpg. If gas prices stay where they are or continue to increase as predicted, I really hope that car companies or the federal government wake up and realize that something needs to be done. Comfort or not, we need to increase fuel efficiency.

Hopefully Americans will continue to embrace hybrids, smaller cars and everything else to do what we can while we're waiting for the car companies to catch up.