CICERO - Center for International Climate Research

CONNECT: The International Context for Norway's Transition to a Low Emissions Economy

How will shifts in international climate policy change the conditions for Norway's transition to a low emissions economy?

Norway's climate governance is strongly conditioned by the international climate policy context. The global climate regime, particularly the Kyoto Protocol, has given a global cost-efficiency approach to Norway's climate transition. Reliance on economy-wide policy instruments (like emissions trading) has been a central policy strategy.

In contrast, the Paris Agreement emphasizes climate governance focused on domestic emissions reductions, abandoning some of the key principles of global cost-efficiency that guided the Kyoto Protocol, including the principles' epistemological underpinnings.

The new international climate policy regime marks a shift to a more nationally oriented, sector-specific approach. This shift will likely be consequential for Norwegian climate governance going forward. Norway's likely future inclusion in the EU 2030 effort sharing agreement contributes further to this shift. We are likely looking at a radical shift in the international climate context for Norwegian climate policy development.

First, the Paris Agreement embodies a bottom-up structure, in which emission reduction targets are established nationally and reviewed internationally every five years, relying on scientific expertise such as IPCC assessments to act as a catalyst for increased ambition over time.

How will ongoing shifts in international climate policy change the conditions for Norway's transition to a low emissions economy?

CONNECT provides insights into whether and how the shift to a more national, sector-specific climate transition strategy in the Paris Agreement will be manifested in rules and procedures for global climate cooperation and national policy approaches in the years leading up to 2018.

Second, Norwegian climate policy is increasingly integrated with EU climate policy. It is therefore important to explore how the EU reacts to changes in international climate policy. CONNECT examines how international climate policy changes influence EU climate policies in the period from 2015 to 2018. We will identify whether a transition from a global cost-efficiency approach to a national sector-specific approach is ongoing in EU climate policies, and the consequences for EU decision-making processes.

Third, CONNECT expects these ongoing shifts in international climate policy to influence climate policy governance in Norway. We will explore debates about viable and preferable policy solutions for handling climate change mitigation through domestic action. CONNECT will explain how changes in the international context affect Norway’s climate policy development up to 2018, and what the implications may be for a long-term low carbon transition in Norway.

Project partners

Prof. Kristin Asdal (TIK Centre for Technology, Innovation and Culture, University of Oslo), Research Prof. Jørgen Wettestad (Fridtjof Nansen Institute).

Expert advisers

Prof. David G. Victor (University of California, San Diego), Prof. Robyn Eckersley (University of Melbourne), Prof. Steven Yearley (University of Edinburgh), Prof. Silke Beck (Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research – UFZ), Prof. Sebastian Oberthür (Vrije University Brussels), Prof. Arild Underdal (Dept. of Political Science, University of Oslo and CICERO), Dr. Oliver Geden (German Institute for International and Security Affairs – SWP).

National Reference Group

The project has a reference group consisting of political advisors from the Standing Committee on Energy and the Environment in the Norwegian Parliament (Stortinget).

The project is financed by the Research Council of Norway.