Debate: A Solution For the Trade Sector Becoming Climate-Effective?

Spire Trondheim hosted a debate between politicians about trade and the climate, a topic which often is left out of the climate debate – here we open up a discussion  concerning one of the possible solutions, Carbon Fee and Dividend.

Spires main political campaign this winter was the “Made in …?” campaign, which took up the issue of international transport not being a part of the Paris agreement. No country is responsible for the emissions from the ships and planes transporting goods and people between countries, and if this sector continues to be unregulated, and its share of global climate gas emissions could reach 40% by 2050. So Spire made a campaign video and a political note with some recommendations for the political parties. (http://spireorg.no/vi-mener/made-in/ )

Igor Ovsyannykov

The politicians in the panel were Jon Gunnes (Venstre), Ingrid Marie Sylte Isachsen (SV) and Anne Therese Gullberg (Ap). Høyre was also supposed to be there but had to withdraw because of sickness. Spires campaign leader Hege Skarrud lead the debate. All of the politicians agreed that it’s hard for Norway to do much about this issue, and often went on talking about related, but irrelevant subjects. Sometimes they came up with good points.

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Norway is an important shipping nation. We have been in the forefront when it comes to reduction of NOx emissions through the Business Sector’s NOx Fund. All the shipping companies are paying a fee to the fund, but can apply for investment support so they can reduce their NOx emissions. (Read more about that here: https://www.nho.no/Prosjekter-og-programmer/NOx-fondet/The-NOx-fund/ ) The politicians pointed out that the same system can be used for reducing CO2 emissions.

Ingrid Marie Sylte Isachsen said that reducing the volume of international trade might also be an important part of the solution. She also briefly mentioned Carbon Fee and Dividend (Karbonavgift til Fordeling – KAF). I don’t know how much she saw this as a solution to the subject of the debate or if she just mentioned it as a solution for climate gas emission reduction in general, but I would like to say a bit more about that.

Carbon Fee and Dividend (CF&D) is a market-based mechanism for reducing the carbon emissions. Carbon Fee and Dividend begins with levying a progressively-rising fee on carbon-based fuels, then returning all of the fees collected to the public as a regular energy dividend. This is intended to incentivize a shift to low-carbon energy while protecting consumers from any increases in the costs of carbon-based fuels.

A border tax adjustment is levied on imports from nations that lack their own equivalent fee on carbon. To take one example, if the United States created a carbon fee-and-dividend system, China would face the choice of paying carbon fees to the United States or creating its own internal carbon pricing system. This way countries and possibly also the international transport sector are “forced” to join this system.

Towards the end of the debate we opened up for questions from the audience. And the engagement showed that this is a subject that many people think is important.

Hans Inge Alander, Spire Trondheim

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