Norwegians among the worst in global climate change

Friday 3 August 2018

Today we have “spent up” the earth’s resources for this year. If everyone were to live like Norwegians, we would need 3.6 Earths.

Every year, the date of “Earth’s Overcrowding Day” or “Earth Overshoot Day” crawls longer and longer.

The mark, which falls this year on August 1, tells us when we have used up the Earth’s resources for the current year. The rest of the year people use natural resources that the earth needs more than a year to recover.

Earlier than ever

As last year, the date has fallen earlier than ever, as much as two months earlier than in 2000.

And Norway, like other western countries, is very poor when it comes to organic footprints. Of 134 countries as the Global Footprint Network think tank has listed, Norway is number 19.

If the whole world were to live as Norwegians, the date of Earth’s overtaking day had already fallen on April 12, or we would have needed 3.6 earthquakes in a year.

“A small proportion of the world’s population uses most of the Earth’s resources today. And it’s usually the northern and western part of the world, “says CICERO researcher Marianne Tronstad Lund.

Missing debate on division of responsibilities

Tronstad Lund points to Norway’s high gross national product and revenues as a cause of Norwegians overuse.

“It’s enough that we have a less thoughtful attitude towards use and throw. We buy things we strictly do not need, as well as having a relatively high food win.

The senior researcher thinks there is a perspective that should be highlighted in the debate on responsibilities, when it comes to greenhouse gas emissions from production and consumption:

“Norwegians are big consumers of goods produced in other countries, and we do not have to take responsibility for emissions from production in those countries.

– Should Norway take responsibility for the emissions from production in countries we import goods from?

– If we agree that those who use the service are responsible for the emissions, we should.

– It happens too little, too late

WWF World Wildlife Fund believes the reason Norway is getting out of the list to the “Global Footprint Network” is that we are not living sustainable.

“We must take it more serious that the day comes earlier and earlier each year. It’s happening too little, and it’s too late, says WWF adviser Marte Conradi.

“This year is the date one day earlier than in 2017, does it mean that it’s only one day that we begin to control overuse?

“We have reduced the overuse, but we still have not managed to reverse it, then the day had come later. We soon use resources as if we had two planets, and it’s dramatic.

Ask people to take responsability

According to Conradi, it is important that everybody takes their share of responsibility by making changes in the way we live.

“There are many small steps you can take that will contribute in general. For example, you can drive more collectively, or eat a little less meat.

“Many argue that Norwegians can not make major changes worldwide and that other countries are bigger” environmentalists “than us. What do you think about it?

“It is an argument we often hear. But the environment is just as much a collective responsibility, and the fact that someone is disgusting does not mean that we should not take our part of responsibility.

Here is the WWF World Natural Fund’s list of simple steps you can take to reduce your climate footprint:

Reduce consumption by thinking about an extra time before buying something new
Buy good quality items and repair them when it’s broken
If you have to throw something, make sure that life is recycled
Fly less privately and at work
Use public transport, the bike and the legs
Apply energy-efficient solutions in your own home and at work

Political commitment to reuse

State Secretary at the Ministry of Climate and Environment, Atle Hamar, emphasizes that Norway is the leader in climate and environmental policy.

He refers to the government’s commitment to the circular economy as an important step in reducing Norwegians’ global climate impact.

“It’s about ensuring that resources are used and reused more efficiently, which will strengthen the green competitiveness of business.

He acknowledges that it is problematic for Norwegians to travel more by air than average, but says that long-term technology development could make the aircraft industry less polluting.

“In the course of 10-15 years, we probably have electric aircraft at shorter distances. In addition, airlines use advanced biofuels that have an environmental impact.

According to Hamar, reduced emissions are also targets for several of Norway’s largest sectors.

“We have a maritime sector that is in full swing with a transition from fossil fuels to low emissions or zero emissions. In addition, Norway has taken a leading role in making the transport sector emissions-free and making it profitable to choose electric cars.