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In Elvenstuen's opening speech there was an inspiring silence, methodically laying out the data and steps necessary to reduce the carbon emissions that Norway has set itself.
His presentation, "EV Policies in Norway: Transformation of the Renewable Energy Market“, Underlined the fundamental role of electric cars in reducing carbon emissions in transport.
Norway may be unique in its ability to take advantage of electric cars; the country generates 97% of its electricity from renewable sources already, largely hydroelectric. In other words, it already has a very, very low footprint.
To cut emissions by 40% from 1990 levels in just 15 years, a large part of the reduction has to come from transport - which accounts for a third of Norway's total emissions.
Oslo (home to 1.4 million of Norway's 5.1 million citizens) intends to become “an example to the world” in reducing greenhouse gas emissions from transport.
Walking, cycling and public transportation come first, of course, Elvestuen said. But private vehicles are a given, and what their part should do.
The objectives that have been set are simple:
- All municipal vehicles will be electric in 2015.
- All public transportation will be fossil fuel free by 2020.
- All taxis will be zero emissions by 2022.
- About 100% of the new cars sold will be emission-free by 2025.
To make this transformation viable, electric cars have been given big incentives. In addition to having fiscal and tax advantages.
They also have free public parking; tolls on roads, bridges and tunnels are free; ferry transportation is free; and public charge is free. Electric cars can also travel in restricted bus lanes.
And it is working. Norway already has the highest percentage of electric cars per capita, and this year almost one in five new cars sold in Norway is electric (26% in March).
Electric car sales have doubled every year for three years, and as of June, 2.1 percent (54,000) of Norway's 2.5 million vehicles were electric.
With that kind of push, Elvestuen said, the country can see a future where its goals are met - and indeed Norway's transport carbon footprint can be radically reduced.
As the number of electric cars grow, the incentives will gradually decrease.
Meanwhile, electric buses are being rolled out, and the country's legendary marine industry has just launched its first electric-ferry.
At the end of Elvestuen's speech, everyone was clear: Norway is going to reduce its emissions by 40%.
So simple and so difficult for the rest of the world.