The Icelandic government announced 15 new additions to the Climate Action Plan yesterday, pledging to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 35% by 2030.
The current climate action plan consists of 48 policies and is set to cost the government 46 billion ISK (roughly €294 million) over the next four years. New initiatives include increasing domestic vegetable production, incentivising rental of low-emission vehicles and tackling greenhouse gas emissions from heavy industry and construction.
Under the Paris Climate Agreement, Iceland is required to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by just 29% over the next decade, but the government has pledged to cut emissions by 35%. Ministers also estimate that an additional decrease of around 5-11% could be achieved by applying unspecified “shaping features” to the plan.
The government’s goal of a 35% cut by 2030, reflects a longer-term goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2040.
“I am proud to lead a government that is presenting a plan that demonstrates that we can achieve ambitious climate goals,” wrote Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir in a statement. Finance Minister Bjarni Benediktsson also stressed that the measures were a step towards cultivating an “climate-friendly economy”.
Although the government has described its latest climate goals as “ambitious”, some believe it is not going far enough.
Auður Önnu Magnúsdóttir, head of environmental NGO Landvernd told RÚV that the current plan place too much emphasis on transport initiatives and warned that the government is in danger of missing its targets. Landvernd also recently called for new registrations for fossil fuel projects to be banned by 2023, rather than the government’s current aim of 2030 as Fréttablaðið reports.
The public will soon be able to monitor Iceland’s environmental progress at co.2.is and Icelanders can submit their comments on the plan via the Government Consultation Portal up until September 20th 2020.
Note: this article has been updated.
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