The opposition party wants better figures on climate change to be provided by the government, and is therefore now launching a proposal to set up a committee to monitor greenhouse gas emissions, reports newspaper Aftenposten.
“Following the budget in the autumn, we saw the debate on climate become a quarrel about how emissions are calculated, instead of a debate about climate initiatives. It is important that we know the actual results of what we are doing. At the moment, we don't,” Labour's environmental spokesperson Terje Lien Aasland told Aftenposten.
Aasland said that his party would propose a model developed by The Norwegian Technical Calculation Committee for Wage Settlements (Teknisk beregningsutvalg for lønnsoppgjørene , TBU).
The committee would consist of representatives from various sectors connected to greenhouse gas emissions and would be tasked with developing a way to calculate the effect of the state budget and various other climate initiatives on emissions.
“We must have a basis for figures that is independent of who is doing the calculating, so that we can have a sensible discussion og which measures are actually working… otherwise the climate bill will be trivialised,” Aasland told Aftenposten.
Measures taken by the government in the budget, which increased taxes on greenhouse emissions, were the object of criticism from climate change research institute Cicero, which said that the money saved by the budget allowed tax breaks in other areas – such as the motor industry - which increased emissions, reported Aftenposten in October.
Minister for climate and the environment Vidar Helgesen said that the government was already working on climate figures and that a committee such as the one proposed by Aasland would be unnecessary.
“Calculations are made in consultation with the Norwegian Environment Agency, Statistics Norway, the Ministry of Finance and others. External expertise is brought in when required. Putting the same experts into a committee will not change reality. This proposal is butter on bacon,” Helgesen said to Aftenposten.
Next year's budget would have a more solid statistical basis, the minister added.
“We have also recently proposed a climate bill that limits annual emissions,” he said.
Despite the minister's scepticism, Aasland said that he hoped the proposal would receive parliamentary backing in light of Norway's goal of a 40 percent greenhouse emissions reduction by 2030.