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Svalbard Declaration on Shortlived Climate Forcers:

Emissions of short-lived climate forcers must be reduced:

We, the environment ministers of Denmark, Finland, the Faroe Islands, Iceland, Norway, Sweden and Åland, discussed what we can do to cut global and Nordic emissions of short-lived climate forcers, such as black carbon and methane, at our meeting on Svalbard, 26-27 March 2012.

Cuts of this nature will help to slow the rise in temperature, which has been particularly rapid in the Arctic where it has caused a significant reduction in the volume of ice in the last 30 years.

The cuts will also have important health and environmental benefits, and act as a supplement to an active climate policy designed to reduce emissions of other greenhouse gases in line with our international obligations.

As emissions of short-lived climate forcers (SLCFs) have a negative impact on both the climate and human health, there is a need to regulate them as part of the range of international environmental agreements. However, it will take a long time before such agreements have a sufficient effect.

While waiting for international regulation to be implemented, there is a great need for rapid reductions in emissions of SLCFs such as black carbon, methane and tropospheric ozone. Such initiatives need to be taken in both the industrialised and developing countries.

Based on our close co-operation and shared values, we, the Nordic environment ministers, will intensify our efforts to reduce emissions of SLCFs at national, regional and global level.

We will act as a driving force and work more closely together in international fora to advocate more ambitious international regulation of emissions of greenhouse gases and SLCFs.

However, focus on SLCFs should not be at the expense of cuts in CO2 emissions. We will actively strive to:  

  • promote a global climate agreement under the UNFCCC, which will ensure that the two-degree target is achieved
  • continue the knowledge-building and co-operation initiatives under the Arctic Council, and follow up on any agreement to reduce carbon in the Arctic
  • develop national measures to reduce emissions from transport and from the inefficient use of wood heating, which will also have positive regional effects on health and the climate
  • strengthen co-operation under the auspices of the Nordic Council of Ministers
  • work with projects that reduce emissions of SLCFs at regional level through the Nordic Environment Finance Corporation (NEFCO)
  • develop activities under the auspices of Barents co-operation  
  • support the work of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) to implement effective measures to curb SLCFs, which will have positive health and environmental effects
  • evaluate participation in various UNEP-supported initiatives, including the newly created “Climate and Clean Air Coalition to Reduce Short Lived Climate Pollutants”
  • continue international work to promote cost-effective reduction measures and international regulation, including prioritisation of measures to reduce emissions of carbon by regulating national particle emissions under the Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution (CLRTAP).

To improve the basis for national and joint Nordic initiatives, we will:

  •  further develop and strengthen national emissions accounts for SLCFs, alongside separate accounts for black carbon
  • identify cost-effective initiatives to reduce emissions and evaluate the need for national action plans for emission reductions
  • evaluate the need to draw up a Nordic action plan, based on the proposed national plans, which will help ensure that initiatives are implemented effectively and that the Nordic countries optimise the use of the available instruments.

To support this work, we will hold a Nordic seminar, 7-8 June 2012. The agenda will include national experiences with emissions accounts, identification of cost-effective measures to cut emissions and drawing up national action plans.


Anna Maria Hill Mikkelsen
Phone: +45 33 96 02 81

Satu Reijonen
Phone: +45 33 96 02 00