New Norwegian Climate Policy Report: Embracing circular economy for a low-emission society

NOU Omstilling til lavutslipp Veivalg for klimapolitikken mot 2050
07 Dec 2023
News type
Other (Norway)

A newly launched report by the Norwegian Climate Committee 2050 (available in Norwegian) provides a comprehensive analysis of the challenges Norway faces in meeting its climate targets, highlighting problem areas such as consumption, emissions and biodiversity. It shines a spotlight on a significant gap between stated ambitions in current climate policies and the measures actually adopted. To bridge this gap, the report makes several key recommendations (available in English), including outlining the role that the circular economy plays in solving the climate crisis.
The committee's starting point is that all economic activity must take place within the planet's tolerance limits and be based on the efficient use of resources. This premise naturally sets the circular economy up as a great tool for achieving the goal. However, Norway’s current level of circularity is well below global averages — and far less than it could be. Key challenges identified by the report include Norway’s high material footprint and reliance on fossil fuels, the current inability to meet EU targets for waste preparation and recycling, increased consumption and inadequate incentives for repairs.
When it comes to policies and strategies, the report notes the potential of recalibrating procurement policies to drive greener practices. It also points to the importance of EU circular economy strategies in areas such as eco-design, consumer rights and financial mechanisms promoting sustainability. NCH, together with RISE Research Institutes of Sweden, has also recently launched a Nordic Roadmap for Circular Financing.
All in all, the report underscores that an economy that reuses resources to a greater extent can play a significant role in addressing the climate crisis. With this in mind, the report recommends:

  • Policy integration: Integrating welfare-oriented policies emphasising resource scarcity and efficient utilisation will pave the way towards a more circular economy.
  • EU collaboration: Strong alignment with EU circular market practices is crucial for future initiatives and regulatory cohesion.
  • Innovation and restructuring: For a low-emission society, innovation and restructuring are pivotal. Addressing sector-specific barriers, aligning regulations and prioritising sustainability is the way forward.

Gathering more data and making science-based recommendations for circular policies and tools is key. The Nordic Working Group for Circular Economy (NCE) of the Nordic Council of Ministers is working to promote a transition to a circular economy in the Nordic region. NCE does this by developing and distributing knowledge-based information and reports that the Nordic countries can use in their efforts to implement policies in line with circular principles.