Icelandic Government Aims for 35% Lower Emissions By 2030

Dalasýsla náttúra

Iceland’s Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir presented the government’s updated climate action plan today. Its 48 actions are projected to bring down Iceland’s carbon emissions by 35% by the year 2030, a bigger drop than the country’s international agreements call for. Iceland’s government has set the goal of making the country carbon neutral by 2040.

The plan involves an ISK 46 billion ($333 million/€294 million) investment from the government in 48 actions intended to reduce emissions, 15 of which are new. The actions are varied, including carbon capture from heavy industry, increased domestic vegetable production, and subsidising low emission rental cars. Emphasis has been placed on implementing the measures immediately, and thus 28 have already been launched.

Read More: Iceland’s Plan to Become Carbon Neutral By 2040

Guðmundur Ingi Guðbrandsson, Minister for the Environment and Natural Resources, stated that the plan has turned over a new leaf in Iceland’s climate policy. “With the actions that we have taken and intend to take, we will achieve far more success than international commitments under the Paris Agreement require of us.”

The plan has been uploaded to the Government Consultation Portal, where the public have until September 20 to submit comments and suggestions.

The video below (featuring English subtitles) introduces the updated plan.

Icelandic Tour Companies Offer to Pay for Tourists’ COVID-19 Tests

Landmannalaugar tourist

At least two Icelandic tour companies are offering to pay for tourists’ COVID-19 tests upon entering Iceland. Arctic Adventures and Nordic Visitor are both offering to reimburse their customers for the cost of COVID-19 tests upon arrival to the country.

On June 15, Iceland began offering entering travellers COVID-19 tests as an alternative to 14-day quarantine. Those who opt for testing receive results with 24 hours and if they test negative may travel freely. While tests are free until July 1, from that date travellers will be required to pay ISK 15,000 ($114/€100) per test. (Children born in 2005 or later are exempt from both testing and quarantine.)

Read More: What do I need to know when travelling to Iceland in 2020 Post COVID-19?

Founder and CEO of Arctic Adventures Styrmir Þór Bragason said that the cost of mandatory screenings is a burden for tourists that the company wants to help eliminate. “Iceland has managed the pandemic exceptionally well, and that is due to widespread testing. We are dedicated to protecting the health of our fellow citizens and visitors and testing ensures maximum safety,” he said. “Our goal is to make this process easier by covering costs and revitalise our tourism sector.”

Styrmir says for those hoping to travel this summer, there are many reasons to choose Iceland. For example: “It is one of the least densely populated countries in the world, which makes social distancing quite easy.”

What can you tell me about Iceland’s upcoming presidential election?

Bessastaðir, official residence of the President of Iceland.

Iceland will hold a presidential election on Saturday, June 27. There are two candidates on the ballot this election: incumbent Guðni Th. Jóhannsson, currently finishing his first term, and Guðmundur Franklín Jónsson. A recent poll showed 90.5% support for Guðni.

Who is Eligible to Vote

Only Icelandic citizens aged 18 or older on election day are eligible to vote in presidential elections. (The only exception to this is Danish nationals residing in Iceland on March 6, 1946 or at any point in the 10 years before that date.) Icelandic nationals who have legally resided abroad for more than eight years must apply to Registers Iceland to be entered into the electoral register.

How and Where to Vote

Icelandic nationals who are eligible to vote can find their polling station by typing in their kennitala on the Registers Iceland website. Voters must present a valid form of identification in order to vote. Most polling stations will be open from 9.00am to 10.00pm, but these hours may vary, so voters are encouraged to check the hours of their individual polling station.

Advanced polling stations are also open at District Commissioner (Sýslumaður) Offices across the country until election day. Information about advance voting can be found on their websites.