PM’s Greenhouse Gas Goal Debated Skip to content

PM’s Greenhouse Gas Goal Debated

Prime Minister Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson promised a 40 percent reduction in the emission of greenhouse gases at the United Nations Sustainable Development Summit Saturday, but has since been harshly criticized by the Icelandic Environment Association for lack of honesty, according to Vísir.

The prime minister’s statement at the UN Summit began with these words:

“This autumn has already produced a truly impressive harvest. The 2030 Agenda and the Addis Ababa Action Agenda alone, amount to a bumper crop and I am optimistic that we will see an excellent result from COP21, indeed Iceland recently pledged a 40% reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.”

The statement received much attention, not the least because no such decision has been made by Icelandic authorities, Vísir reports.

RÚV reports that the statement was based on the Icelandic government’s willingness to reach an agreement with Norway and the European Union to aim at a 40 percent reduction in 2030 compared with 1990 for all countries collectively. That does not necessarily mean a 40 percent reduction for every country. Some countries may emit more, others less.

The Icelandic Environment Association points out that while declaring a 40 percent reduction in emissions at the UN Summit, Sigmundur’s government is facilitating and subsidizing the construction of three silicon metal production plants, which collectively will emit over a million tons of carbon dioxide.

The three plants, planned to rise by Bakki, Húsavík, and Thorsil and United Silicor in Helguvík, would mean a 20 percent increase in current annual emissions, now amounting to 4.5 million tons.

Minister for the Environment Sigrún Magnúsdóttir objects to the accusations of inconsistency, asserting that ways will be found to meet the goal.

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