The GHG policy overlocks the challenge to adapt to climate change and protect biodiversity

NESS - Nordic Environmental Social Science Conference: Emergency and transformation

To meet its obligations under the Paris Agreement, Norway has decided to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 50-55 percent by 2030 compared to 1990 levels. However, the plan to achieve this goal does not consider how measures affect the conditions for achieving other sustainability goals. In the process of cutting greenhouse gas emissions, we therefore risk increased emissions, a weakened ability to adapt to climate change, and a weakened biodiversity. The Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) has shown that human activity erodes species, ecosystems and resources important to provide us with food, water and a habitable environment. In other words, there is a great need to see policy for climate change mitigation (CCM), climate change adaptation (CCA), and biodiversity protection (BDP)in context (this paper’s three policy themes), to promote consistency and not conflict between measures, and to achieve sustainability goals. In this paper we analyse national policy documents connected to the three policy themes and investigate to what extent and in what way coherence between these policy fields is addressed. We also analyse concrete development action in local land use planning, transport communication and building construction to assess how municipalities relate to the challenge of stimulating coherence between these policy fields. The analysis shows that greenhouse gas emission policy is integrated in the overall national policy and dominates as the main task in environmental policy. But the CCM policy takes less account of the protection of biodiversity and adaptation to climate change. The paper also presents how municipalities relate to the challenge of policy coherence and suggests how the national policy for emission cuts needs to consider the protection of biodiversity and climate adaptation, both at national and local level.