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Sustainable Growth the Nordic Way
WEB MAGAZINE - February 2018

“The EU needs the Nordics’ climate leadership”

The European Union needs the Nordic Region’s leadership on climate efforts during these turbulent times. These were the words of Halldór Thorgeirsson, senior director of intergovernmental affairs of the UNFCCC Secretariat, at a round table conference on wise climate policy for greener transport, organised by the Nordic Council in Stockholm in January.

If climate goals are to be met, fundamental reorganisation is needed in all sectors – reorganisation that involves visions as well as concrete measures and instruments that encourage environmentally friendly trade and greener forms of transport.

“This isn’t so much about new money as about being smarter with the money we have, and investing in the right areas. Today, we know that the most expensive option in the long run is to take no action at all,” said Thorgeirsson.

"Today, we know that the most expensive option in the long run is to take no action at all"

Halldór Thorgeirsson

According to Katherine Richardson, professor at the University of Copenhagen and member of the Danish climate council, it is important to maintain a perspective of sustainability in our long-term thinking.

“For example, liquid biofuels may seem like a good idea through to 2030, but by then the price of biomass will have risen, and by 2050 there will be more favourable alternatives. It’s important, however, that we don’t name a winner but allow technologies to compete,” said Richardson.

The President of the Nordic Council, Michael Tetzschner (Conservative Party, Norway), called for a comprehensive assessment of different modes of transport, including the calculation of unit costs for each passenger.

“If people start cycling or walking, this is at the expense of public transport. The focus should be on encouraging people who make longer journeys by car to use public transport instead. Investments must be reasonable, and subsidies should fall within sensible limits,” said Tetzschner.

Photo: Yadid Levy /