Hilde C. Bjørnland to join new Climate Commission

13 December 2019

Professor and Provost Hilde C. Bjørnland will be a member of a new independent climate commission initiated by WWF, Civita and the Norwegian Climate Foundation, that is to review how the Norwegian economy can adapt to meet the objectives of the Paris Agreement.

The terms of reference of the Commission are to give recommendations concerning economic policies to deal with a reduction in the demand for fossil fuels and, thus, the effects of this on the oil and gas-related activities on the Norwegian continental shelf. Among other things, the Commission shall propose how the petroleum policy may be organized to meet the climate targets.

Hilde C. Bjørnland

- The Commission shall give recommendations for some of the most critical challenges the Norwegian economy and society are facing in the light of the big climate-related challenges. As an economist, I may provide views regarding cost-efficiency measures as seen against potential gains. BI contributes to produce research-based knowledge, also on sustainability. The terms of reference and the work of the Commission are in line with this, says Professor Bjørnland.

Kristin Halvorsen, Director of Cicero Centre for International Climate Research, and Vidar Helgesen, Norway’s Special Envoy to the High-level Panel on Building a Sustainable Ocean Economy, will chair the Commission, whose recommendation will be submitted by 20 June 2020.

The terms of reference: 

«The global warming has already exceeded one degree at the global level, but more than that in Norway and most of all in the arctic region. The message from the UN Panel on Climate Change, is that the effects of a global warming of almost two degrees will be stronger and more unpredictable than previously envisaged.

Through the Paris Agreement, the governments of the world have undertaken to limit global warming to a level well below two degrees and to endeavour to restrict it to 1.5 degrees. To reach this goal, the emissions of greenhouse gases must be reduced by about fifty per cent by 2030 and reach a net zero in 2050.

The most important climate action is to reduce CO2 emissions by replacing fossil fuels by emission-free energy. If this change-over is successful, the demand for oil and gas will be strongly reduced and the value of the remaining oil and gas resources may decline, as emphasized in the report of Norway’s Climate Risk Commission. This will mean a loss of income for countries exporting fossil fuels.

A development in line with the goals of the Paris Agreement entails a risk that the value of Norway’s petroleum reserves may be substantially reduced. At the same time as Norway is supposed to reach the goals of the Paris Agreement, value creation and jobs currently linked to petroleum-related activities have to be replaced by new profitable activities. The challenge will be to manage this change in a way as impressive as the building and management of the Norwegian petroleum adventure».

Conditions forming the basis for the report:

In its report, the Commission shall take as its basis that the global, European and domestic climate policies are in accordance with the 1.5-per cent target, i.e. a reduction of fifty per cent of global emissions by 2030, and that Norway becomes climate neutral by 2050. The implementation of the climate policy is made in cooperation with the EU, as decided by Parliament (Stortinget).

The Commission shall base its work on the assumption that the change in Norway will take place within today’s social model, with market economy, tripartite cooperation and an appropriate division of labour between business and industry and the public sector.

The Commission shall take into consideration that it is very uncertain how technologies and markets for various products will develop in the time to come. The proposals for political actions must take this uncertainty into account.

The Commission comprises the following members:

  • Kristin Halvorsen, Director of Cicero Center for International Climate Research (head of commission)
  • Vidar Helgesen, Special Envoy to the High-level Panel on Building a Sustainable Ocean Economy (head of commission)
  • Ada Johanna Arnstad, former leader of Centre Youth (Senterungdommen)
  • Alexandra Bech Gjørv, President and CEO of SINTEF
  • Alfred Bjørlo, Mayor of Stad municipality for the Liberal Party (Venstre)
  • Diderik Lund, Professor Emeritus at the University of Oslo
  • Eirik Sivertsen, member of parliament for the Labour Party (AP)
  • Geir-Inge Lunde, Advisor, former Partner and Regional Leader of PwC Norway
  • Hilde Bjørnland, Professor and Pro-Rector at BI
  • Linda Nøstbakken, Professor and Pro-Rector at NHH
  • Sigbjørn Johnsen, former Minister of Finance for the Labour Party (AP)
  • Siren Sundland, Executive Vice President at Sparebanken Vest
  • Stefan Heggelund, member of parliament for the Conservative Party (Høyre)
  • Steinar Holden, Professor and Head of Department at the University of Oslo
  • Terje Osmundsen, CEO of Empower New Energy

The Norwegian Climate Foundation, Civita and WWF will serve as secretariat for the Commission.

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