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Scaling up just 15 Nordic solutions can reduce 4 Gt of global emissions

By scaling up just 15 proven Nordic solutions, countries all over the world can save 4 Gt of emissions every year by 2030 which is as much as the EU produces today. The costs for this scale-up equal the amount spent in just 9 days on fossil fuel subsidies.

16.11.2016
Photographer
Sitra.fi

These results come from the Nordic Green to Scale study which was launched at the UN Climate Conference (COP 22) in Marrakech on November 16th. The Nordic Council of Ministers has partnered with the Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra and distinguished institutions from all Nordic countries to answer a simple question: how far could we go simply by scaling up existing Nordic low-carbon solutions to a level of adoption in 2030 that has already been achieved by one or more Nordic countries today.

Today, already 110 countries have ratified the Paris climate agreement.

“We have to work fast in order to achieve the goals set in the Paris agreement. This Nordic study shows that there are already plenty of proven low-carbon solutions available, and at an affordable cost. There is no reason to wait. The time to deliver is now”, says Minister of Agriculture and the Environment of Finland Kimmo Tiilikainen, Chair of the Nordic Council of Ministers for the Environment.

“The main concern decision makers have is that it’s either too difficult or too expensive to rapidly reduce emissions,” says Senior Advisor Oras Tynkkynen, who led the Nordic Green to Scale analysis on behalf of Sitra. His track record includes participation in seventeen UN Climate Conferences (since Kyoto in 1997).

“Our objective with this study is to highlight what different countries have already achieved on climate action and what other countries can learn from their successes. As much as we appreciate the importance of innovation and new technology, there’s no excuse for not taking action today and introducing the solutions that are already available,” Tynkkynen says.

Reductions are needed in all sectors

The Nordic Green to Scale study shows that emission reductions can be reached efficiently in all key sectors: energy, industry, transport, buildings and households, as well as agriculture and forestry.

Some examples:

  • Urban Danes cycle on an average almost 3 km every day. If other countries followed the example of Denmark and promoted cycling in cities, it would reduce emissions by almost as much as Slovakia produces in a year.

  • In Finland, most of industrial and district heating is provided with energy efficient combined heat and power production (CHP). If other countries used CHP like this, it would reduce emissions by almost as much as Japan produces in a year.

  • Iceland produces almost 30% of its electricity and most of its heat with geothermal energy. If countries with significant geothermal potential started using it like Iceland does, it would reduce emissions by more than Denmark produces in a year.

  • Last year, almost every fourth new car sold in Norway was an electric or plug-in hybrid vehicle. If other wealthy countries used as many electric vehicles as Norway does, it would reduce emissions by almost as much as Denmark produces in a year.

  • Sweden has the world’s highest number of heat pumps per population. Scaling up the solution to selected European countries would cut emissions by as much as Cuba produces every year.

In addition to direct emission reductions, the 15 solutions also create considerable co-benefits. These include improved air and water quality, higher energy security, more local jobs, lower fuel bills, less traffic jams, and sustained biodiversity.

Nordic Green to Scale was produced as a joint project of institutions from all five Nordic countries, along with the Climate and Air Pollution Group KoL of the Nordic Council of Ministers:

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