By: Roald Kvamme
transport case manager, Norwegian Environmental Protection Association
The Norwegian Environmental Protection Association hails LO in Vestland's forward-looking decision to say no to Hordfast. This is an important victory for all of us who fight for sustainable development with climate-friendly transport solutions and protection of natural diversity.
Norway has joined the UN's sustainable development goals and the government must pursue a policy that supports these. The governing authorities have submitted a strengthened climate target under the Paris Agreement, which is to reduce emissions by at least 50 per cent and up to 55 per cent compared to 1990 levels. Negotiations on a new international nature agreement which will strengthen work with the protection of nature and biological diversity have started.
Norway has a great responsibility in this work and the Minister for Climate and the Environment states that the world has both a natural crisis and a climate crisis. It is a national goal in Norway that "no species or nature types shall become extinct". Natural diversity is the planet's basis for life. We are faced with climate change and land use which contribute to the extinction of endangered species, reduced natural diversity and road construction is among the biggest interventions in Norwegian nature.
The work with the national transport plan (NTP) will contribute to solving the challenges for climate and natural diversity. Significant emissions cuts must be implemented in the transport sector, with zero growth targets for passenger car traffic in and around the big cities, a large-scale investment in public transport, investment in green shipping and the transfer of goods from road to sea and rail.
In large development projects, the "hierarchy of measures" must be used as a basis and this must ensure that negative consequences are primarily avoided, then mitigated, restored and, as a last resort, compensated (from Meld. St. 14 (2015-2016) Nature for life). This is in stark contrast to the solutions chosen for the development of the new E39 with a four-lane motorway and giant bridges over unique fjord scenery, protected natural areas and invaluable outdoor areas.
We need a government that has solutions that take the climate and environmental challenges seriously, and then giant motorway projects are not the answer.