Azara Blog: Norway will offset carbon emissions for public sector flying

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Date published: 2007/01/03

The BBC says:

Norway has announced plans to offset the greenhouse gases produced by public employees when they fly abroad by buying emissions credits.

The move, which is intended to fight global warming, was announced by Norway's prime minister.

He said the scheme was thought to be the most ambitious of its kind in the world and hoped others would follow.

Under the scheme the government will buy credits to be invested in projects which reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Well, it sounds like a noble idea but in fact it is not, because it is not the public employees who are going to be paying the cost, it will be the Norwegian taxpayer. So Norwegian public employees have no incentive to reduce their travel. The real principle should be that the polluter pays, not someone else. Well, no public employee is going to pay for pollution caused by workplace air travel out of their own pocket. So a far better idea here would be for the Norwegian government to pledge to increase the air miles of public employees at no more than, and preferably less than, the rate of the increase of that of the private sector. (And similarly for carbon emissions in general.) As it is, with this proposal, the Norwegian government is just taking the piss.

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