Since before the days of man, the climate on our planet has been changing. Glaciers advanced and retreated while environments evolved. However, scientists are developing a growing body of evidence that it is happening again and at a dangerous pace. The earth is warming more rapidly with impacts that will have dramatically negative effects on humans and other species.
Human activity caused the earth’s warming trend and there may be time for humans to reverse it. But the world will have to act fast and Norway is one country that’s not holding back. They’ve committed to going carbon-neutral by 2030 and are leading the way on climate change mitigation efforts.
Zero-energy Targets For New Buildings
Though Norway has extended numbers of cold and dark days, in 2010 a group of architects, designers, environmentalists, and engineers began to look at how to eliminate the carbon footprint in their buildings. Their efforts are already proving successful. They’re beating ambitious energy savings targets with a series of energy efficient buildings including a Montessori school.
Their largest building planned to date exemplifies their efforts. It is an eight-story designed to produce 485,000 kWh each year. This is more than enough to supply the building and to return a substantial amount of energy back to the power grid for other uses.
Cities Are Contributing
Cities are looking to make their contribution to Norway’s carbon-neutral pledge and no effort appears to be off limits. In many cities, including the capital city of Oslo, officials are creating miles of new bike lanes, closing streets to traffic, and removing parking spaces. Cities are also subsidizing emission-free vehicles including new equipment and electric cargo bikes that can haul more than 600 pounds of freight.
Even the most creative ideas are tested. In one data center, engineers are repurposing the waste heat from servers into the building’s energy system. It should ultimately help to heat around 5,000 urban apartments.
Leading The World’s Largest Divestment In Oil And Gas
In March of 2018, Norway made headlines when it announced that it’s $1 trillion Sovereign Investment Fund, the largest in the world, will start to sell the stock it has in fossil fuel exploration companies. It plans to begin phasing out $8 billion in investments throughout more than 134 companies.
The move was cheered by those worried about global warming. However, there are some notable exceptions to the promise. It will not apply to some major oil companies including Shell, BP, and the country’s state oil producer, Equinor. Because of this, some believe the action won’t have as strong an impact as it otherwise could.
Why The Effort?
There’s a good reason that Norway is working so hard to address climate change. They’re conscious of the fact that the impact of global warming will dramatically impact their residents. Around ten percent of Norway’s population lives within the Arctic Circle. The effects there are already being seen as residents are facing melting permafrost, flood dangers, forest impacts, and a changing agricultural environment.
Diminishing Arctic ice also opens the oceans up to access from foreign trade ships. Officials are concerned about unwelcome naval traffic from a number of countries including neighboring Russia. In fact, Norway’s military is actively factoring increased ocean traffic into their strategy and planning work.
Showing Others What Works
Like early adopters of other technologies, Norway’s experience of global warming mitigation techniques will make the next versions stronger. As other countries watch what Norway does, they may be inspired to try similar approaches or to modify an approach for their own geography. Hopefully, Norway’s efforts will inspire adaptations that many can benefit from.