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Norway pledges to cut emissions by 40 percent

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Norway pledges to cut emissions by 40 percent
Prime Minister Erna Solberg, Minister of Finance Siv Jensen, tv, and Environment Minister Tine Sundtoft. Photo: Terje Pedersen/NTB Scanpix
13:11 CET+01:00
Norway has pledged to cut its emissions of greenhouse gases by 40 percent of 1990 levels by 2030, matching targets set by the European Union.
The new target, which will be presented in a white paper to the country’s parliament on Friday, will form the central plank of Norway’s  submission to the UN climate agreement which ministers hope will be adopted in December in Paris. 
 
"Norway should become a low-emission society," conservative Prime Minister Erna Solberg told reporters. 
 
“During negotiations for the new international climate agreement in Paris in December, Norway, and the world, need to take a new and courageous step towards a low-emission society,” she said in a press release released on Wednesday morning.
 
The EU has already presented its pledges for the new agreement, as have the United States and China, although none of them have yet formally submitted their targets to the UN.
 
About half of Norway’s emissions are already covered by the EU’s emissions trading scheme, which aims to cut emissions by 43 percent compared with 2005 by gradually reducing the amount of permits in the market. 
 
Reductions in sectors that do not -- such as agriculture and transport -- will have to be agreed with Brussels, although the government said it aimed to agree emissions reductions of 30 percent. 
 
“The EU is our most important partner,” Finance Minister Siv Jensen said. “Joint implementation will lay the foundation for a more efficient climate policy as well as more predictable and competitive framework for Norwegian industry.” 
 
The Scandinavian country -- whose riches come from oil exploration in the North Sea -- will give up emissions trading with developing countries outside
of Europe, which critics say is a cheap but ineffective way of mitigating climate change.
 
Environmental activists were divided on the new target, with some expressing disappointment that Norway had not attempted to exceed the EU’s ambitions. 
 
“We had hoped at the very least for a commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 60 percent,” Tale Ellingsvåg, from the campaign group Nature and Youth, told Aftenposten.  “In addition they say nothing about how Norway will contribute internationally.” 
 
Frederic Hauge of the Bellona environmental group told NTB he was “very positive” about the move. 
 
“This makes sense for the government. This commits Norwegian politics for years to come and it ties us up with our closest trading partners.”
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