Norway looks for cheaper Kyoto compliance

Official report suggests 85% lower emissions reduction costs if half met through trading

The Norwegian Pollution Control Authority (SFT) has calculated that Norway could slash the cost of complying with the Kyoto climate protocol by 85% if it were to achieve half of the committed reduction by purchasing carbon dioxide (CO2) quotas on an international market. With trading, the annual bill would be NRk450m (euros 55m) per year, compared with NKr3bn if all emissions reductions had to be made domestically, the SFT said in a report published on Friday.

The SFT reckons that 50% of Norway's commitments can be implemented domestically at less than NKr200 per tonne of CO2-equivalent. The government is committed to a maximum 1% increase in greenhouse gas emissions over 1990 levels in the period 2008-2012. Latest projections suggest that emissions will increase by 24% by 2010, which means that "Norway must reduce its annual emissions by about 12m tonnes CO2[-equivalent]".

Cost projections are further complicated - and would sharply increase - if controversial plans to build a number of natural gas power stations are taken into account, and according to whether any such installations would include CO2 cleansing equipment.

The SFT looked at over 70 sources of greenhouse gas emissions and calculated annual emission reductions based on the maximum cost of NKr200 per tonne of CO2-equivalent. The main ones are: process industries, 1.6m tonnes; other process emissions, including landfill sites (CH4), refrigerants (HFCs) and oil products (VOCs), 1.2m tonnes; stationary combustion of fuel oils outside of process industries, 2m tonnes; mobile sources including road traffic, 0.7m tonnes; and shipping, small craft and aviation, 0.25m tonnes.

Tasks for the process industries would include phasing out the use of sulphur hexafluoride (SF6) in magnesium production and rebuilding plants to reduce nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions from the manufacture of nitric acid.

Follow Up:
SFT, tel: +47 22 57 35 47. "Reduction of Greenhouse Gas Emissions in Norway: a Task Analysis for 2010" (in Norwegian).

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