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Norway Will Pay for Travel Pollution

by: Aftenposten    2 January 2007

Norway will offset the greenhouse gases caused by state employees' flights abroad by buying emissions quotas to help combat global warming.
Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg announced the plan in the annual New Year's address to the nation.

Norway is probably the first country in the world to buy such quotas.

"The government has decided that when state employees travel by plane abroad, we will buy quotas for the emissions caused by the trip," Stoltenberg said in his New Year speech on Monday night. "We want to set an example. We hope that companies, organizations and other countries will follow," he said.

"In many parts of the country we have had the warmest autumn and winter months for 100 years," Stoltenberg said. "We notice it in our daily lives -- skis are standing unused. Children are not making snowmen. Researchers say polar bears are threatened," he said.

Emissions by planes on international flights are excluded from the goals of the UN's Kyoto Protocol, a plan that binds 35 rich nations to cut emissions from burning oil, coal and natural gas by five percent below 1990 levels by 2008-12.

Some companies, including Norway's oil group Statoil, already have similar policies of paying for emissions caused by employees' flights.

According to the Carbon Neutral Company, a passenger traveling one way from Oslo to Washington would account for emissions of 0.7 tons of carbon dioxide. It suggests a compensating investment of about USD 12 in windmills or planting trees.