Interview: Iceland's environment minister on 'absurd' EU energy market rules, the European Green Deal, and aiming for carbon neutrality

When Katrín Jakobsdóttir of Iceland’s Green Left Movement was elected prime minister in 2017, she reached outside of parliament, in one of her most high profile appointments, to name biologist and environmentalist Gudmundur Ingi Gudbrandsson environment minister. ENDS spoke to him about his government's climate plans and environmental alignment with the EU.

Gudmundur, a former environmental researcher and lecturer is “definitely” able, he says, to implement some of the demands he made in his previous role, leading Iceland’s largest green group, Landvernd. The coalition government, which also includes the centre-right Progressive party and right-wing Independence party, has already begun implementing in its 2018-2030 climate action plan, measures the NGO has been demanding, the minister says. Alternative energy measures for transport have been devised, along with carbon sequestration, particularly in relation to restoring wetlands and tree planting. Funds for restoring wetlands will be increased 10-fold in the next three to four years, he says. 

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