Green shipping corridors, carbon capture and storage, the global negotiations on plastics, climate adaptation and, in particular, the climate negotiations at COP28 were all significant and weighty agenda items at the first meeting of the climate and environment ministers in 2023. The Nordic countries all wish to see more ambitious international negotiations and stronger language on the climate and environment and believe Nordic co-operation is required to make that happen.
“Co-operation between the Nordic countries on climate issues is both important and effective. The Nordic Region has green solutions – from wind power to geothermal energy, carbon capture to green shipping – and people listen to us around the world,” says Guðlaugur Þór Þórðarson, Iceland’s Minister for the Environment, Energy and Climate.
The Nordic Region has green solutions – from wind power to geothermal energy, carbon capture to green shipping – and people listen to us around the world.
A look at the EU and Fit for 55
The ministers discussed the EU's 'Fit for 55' legislative package, which will affect all the Nordic countries and provides positive opportunities to work together effectively and achieve shared ambitions.
“With the Fit for 55 package, the EU is showing global leadership on climate action. I am pleased with the fruitful discussion we had today about both the opportunities and challenges that the Nordic countries will face as we implement the rules at national level,” says Romina Pourmokhtari, Sweden’s Minister for Climate and Environment.
Delivering on promises from COP26
The ministers also discussed the decarbonisation of the Nordic shipping sector, in particular, the implementation of green shipping corridors in the Nordic Region. During COP26 in Glasgow, all the Nordic countries signed the Clydebank Declaration, which included a commitment to deliver six green shipping routes globally. The MR-MK meeting in Oslo in May 2022 followed up on the declaration and decided to establish corridors for emission-free shipping between ports in the Nordic Region. Norway has taken the lead on the work, and the minister presented his colleagues with a road map and pilot study showing the potential for green corridors in the Nordic Region.
“The transition to zero-emission shipping is the transition to climate-friendly fuel. To achieve this, the Nordic countries must work together and involve business in the process. The pilot project presented today shows that the conditions for emission-free shipping between the Nordic countries are favourable. The next step will be to devise tangible solutions that will allow us to realise the potential,” says Espen Barth Eide, Norway's Minister of Climate and the Environment.
Conditions for emission-free shipping between the Nordic countries are favourable. The next step will be to devise tangible solutions that will allow us to realise the potential.
Climate adaptation and Nordic solutions
The agenda for the meeting also included the implementation of climate adaptation solutions, methods of carbon capture and storage and the growing need for green energy. In April, researchers, experts and other stakeholders from across the Nordic Region took stock of the work on climate change adaptation in the Nordic cities and local authorities at the 6th Nordic Conference on Climate Change Adaptation (NOCCA) 2023.
The conference findings were presented to the ministers and will be taken into account in future work on climate adaptation at both Nordic and EU levels. The hope is that Nordic experiences and ways of working on climate change adaptation will also be useful in other parts of the world.
Topics discussed at the conference included the regulatory challenges related to transboundary climate risks (TRC), and the ministers took note of this at their meeting this week.