“I do expect that my twelve recommendations won’t be lying in a drawer, the world cannot afford that”, says Tine Sundtoft. Photo: Heidi Orava – norden.org

“I do expect that my twelve recommendations won’t be lying in a drawer, the world cannot afford that”, says Tine Sundtoft. Photo: Heidi Orava – norden.org

3 May 2018

Speeding up the green transition

 “It is becoming increasingly clear that the time we have for making a green transition is closing in. It is important to understand that the Paris Agreement is only a start and not an end in itself. This is why I have made twelve strategic recommendations to speed up what we already have agreed upon”, says Tine Sundtoft, former Norwegian Minister of Climate and the Environment.

Ms Sundtoft recently presented her twelve independent recommendations to the Nordic Council of Ministers, stating that the Nordic countries together should make a strong contribution to achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement and the UN Agenda 2030, both in the Nordic region and at the global level. The recommendations are presented in the report “The Nordic countries in the green transition - more than just neighbours”.

Nordic leadership

“While the changes we are embarking on are a road not travelled before, the Nordic countries have the competencies, finances and technologies needed to take the leadership role“, says the former minister who led Norway’s negotiations for the Paris Agreement.

Ms Sundtoft was recently appointed County Chief Executive of the newly agreed Agder County Municipality, which will consist of the current Aust-Agder and Vest-Agder counties from 1 January 2020. She is currently managing the merger process.

In order to make the greatest possible impact, Nordic cooperation should, according to Ms Sundtoft, contribute to five broad areas in order to find specific solutions for the green transition, mobilise key stakeholders; finance the transition, be a strong Nordic voice beyond Nordic borders, and adapt to changes in the climate.

Ms Sundtoft conducted more than 119 interviews with ministers, members of parliament, civil servants, scientists and environmental organisations in the Nordic region, as well as in the EU, UN and OECD, during 2017 and the early months of 2018.

“During these discussions, I was impressed by the strong will to act and to make a successful green transition. I found this a recurring attitude among the people I met and discussed with, regardless of the type of organisation or country.”

A Nordic green financing summit

On developing the green financial markets, Ms Sundtoft recommends that the Nordic climate and environment ministers together with the finance ministers organise a Nordic summit. The summit should be about how to “redirect both private- and public-sector capital investments to support the green transition”. This should be done in cooperation with key stakeholders in the financial world, were Ms Sundtoft mentions NIB as an example.

“Such a senior Nordic summit is needed because the green transition is dependent on financial streams going to green products, technologies and infrastructure. In fact, the EU Commission has estimated that there is a need for an additional EUR 170 billion in green investments annually.”

“Looking at the EU after Brexit, it seems obvious that Germany and France will need a strong Nordic region to keep up the pace of the EU’s climate and environmental policy. For the Nordic countries to also bring forward the three Baltic countries in this is work would be clever.”

No time to waste

Ms Sundtoft says it is now up to the Nordic Council of Ministers and the climate and environment ministers to decide on the political agenda.

“However, I do expect that my twelve recommendations won’t be lying in a drawer, because the world cannot afford that.”