Climate championship of the Nordics


Country after country in the Nordics have made pledges to become carbon neutral. The EU recently adopted its position to be climate neutral by mid-century, but most Nordic countries have already adopted more ambitious national targets. So, what does it take to become the climate champion of the Nordics?

Denmark is set to become carbon neutral by 2050 and has also set a very high target of a 70 percent reduction in emissions in 2030 compared to 1990. Following Denmark is Norway which will cut emissions by up to 55 percent by 2030. Sweden’s target is to become carbon neutral by 2045. Iceland is set to become carbon neutral by 2040 and Finland is the most ambitious country, aiming to be carbon neutral already by 2035.

The Nordics is one of the most ambitious regions in the world when it comes to climate policy, but it is equally interesting to look at the current carbon emissions of the Nordic countries. The metric tonne per capita carbon emissions in the Nordics range from 9,3 to 4,5. Norway has the highest per capita emissions in the Nordics with 9,3; Finland 8,7; Iceland 6,1; Denmark 5,9 and Sweden 4,5. These numbers are from the World Bank in 2018. The world average for carbon emissions is around 5 metric tonnes per capita, which means that Sweden is currently the only country under the world average in the Nordics.

To be able to make this remarkable transition into carbon neutral economies, that all the Nordic countries are promising to deliver, an increased electrification across the board in the Nordics is therefore necessary. Swedenergy recently estimated that the electricity production in Sweden will need to increase from around 140 TWh to 190 TWh, which is an increase of 36 percent. Finnish Energy and Danish Energy are preparing similar estimates regarding the electricity production needed in the future.

With the ambitious pledges to become climate neutral, the Nordic region is about to show how to truly decouple carbon emissions from growth. Now the race is on to see who becomes the Nordic champion when it comes to actual emissions 2030 and 2050.


Daniel Wennick, Head of Brussels Office, Swedenergy

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