Heat and Gas

Heat and Gas norway's hottest environmental issue at the moment is the planning of two gas-fuelled power plants, which will lead to the emission of 2,000,000 metric tonnes of carbon dioxide ( co 2 ) annually. Permission for setting up the plants was granted by the Norwegian parliament before industrialised countries agreed, in December 1997 at Kyoto, to reduce greenhouse gas ( ghg ) emissions by 5.2 per cent below 1990 levels by 2010.

Until October 1997, the conflict was between the government and its supporters in the parliament on one side, and opposition parties and environmental groups on the other. Later, however, the issue became highly politicised. Norway's new minority-coalition government is against building the plants. The majority in the parliament is, however, for the project. Meanwhile, more than a thousand environmentalists prepare to use direct action to block construction of the plants.
A lucky nation Getting enough energy used to be a "luxury problem' for the four million people of Norway. Waterfalls in this wealthy country have secured an abundance of clean, water-powered electricity. The country has no nuclear power or coal-fuelled power plants. Moreover, Norway's vast resources of petroleum and gas outside its shores have made it the world's second largest exporter of crude oil in the last 25 years. The petroleum industry is responsible for most of the increase in emissions of co 2 in Norway.

As almost 100 per cent of electricity is produced from waterfalls in the country, it got a fair deal in the Kyoto protocol. While the European Union ( eu ) has to cut its ghg emissions by 8 per cent by 2010, Norway has been allowed an increase of one per cent compared to the 1990 level.

However, one should keep in mind that the emissions of ghg s, of which co 2 is the most serious, have risen substantially since 1990. Therefore Norway has to reduce its emissions by 5 to 6 per cent from the present level of emission by 2010. From what sources is Norway going to reduce emissions? It would be unwise to start by increasing the emissions through building two gas-fuelled power plants, says prime minister Kjell Magne Bondevik of the Christian Popular Party. The plants will increase Norway's co 2 emissions by 5 to 6 per cent. This would equal emissions from 700,000 cars annually

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