Curing the climate

Identifying ways and means to meet the Norwegian government’s goal for radical cuts in greenhouse gas emissions is Bente Jarandsen’s job as a member of the inter-agency Climate Cure 2020 team.
  • Bente Bergøy Miljeteig / Arne Bjørøen (photo)

Arne Bjørøen (photo)


Our job is to deliver the factual basis for assessing a number of possible measures to achieve these reductions,” explains the NPD principal engineer.

But she refuses to say what might be the right or intelligent course to take. “We’re creating a ‘menu’ the politicians can pick and choose from, without imposing any guidance.”

In her view, the official aim of cutting emissions by 15-17 million tonnes of carbon equivalent is ambitious. It equals the annual amount released by more than six million cars.

The report from Climate Cure 2020 will form the basis for the government’s policy assessments in this area, which are due to be submitted to the Storting (parliament) next year.

Leadership of the team has been assigned by the Ministry of the Environment to the Norwegian Pollution Control Authority (SFT).

Other agencies represented are Statistics Norway, the Norwegian Public Roads Administration and the Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate (NVE).

Backed by additional players and specialists as necessary, each agency has prepared sectoral reports which are now being summarised and integrated into the final presentation.

“We’re currently in the most demanding phase,” explains Ms Jarandsen. “The team is discussing measures and tools, and all the agencies must support our conclusions.”

She adds that this is a busy time, with lots of meetings at the SFT in Oslo, by phone and in-house. Eight to 10 members of the NPD staff are working on the climate cure.


Bente Jarandsen

Bente Jarandsen wants to get the facts and identify positive and negative impacts.
(Photo: Emile Ashley)


The NPD has a special responsibility for identifying possible measures in the petroleum sector, their impact and their cost. Attention is concentrated on reducing carbon emissions.

Oil and gas account for more than 30 per cent of the total carbon dioxide released by Norway. But cuts by this sector alone may not necessarily be the best approach in socio-economic terms.

“The cost will be highest in this industry,” Ms Jarandsen points out. “It’s also a challenge that many mature fields on the NCS are energy-intensive and thereby have higher emissions.”

In its work on Climate Cure 2020, the NPD has also been looking at measures and costs for carbon capture and storage (CCS) as well as for transporting carbon dioxide.

The latter relates to such locations as Kårstø near Stavanger, Mongstad north of Bergen and Hammerfest LNG at Melkøya in northern Norway.

Other action under consideration includes integrating power supplies between a number of offshore fields to cut generation and thereby reduce carbon emissions.

Using wind turbines to supply NCS production installations with electricity and the transmission of power from shore will also be assessed.

“It’s important for us to establish the facts and identify the positive and negative consequences of different instruments,” Ms Jarandsen explains.

Having studied biology and chemistry at the University of Oslo, she has worked on climate and environmental issues throughout her career.

“But that was quite accidental,” she says. “I also spent a year at the Norwegian School of Sport Sciences and still enjoy being active.” She cycles, skis, and likes being out-of-doors.

She started with Norsk Hydro, testing the Grenland Fjord south of Oslo for dioxins and taking blood samples from magnesium workers to check levels of hexachlorobenzene, a carcinogen.

After a decade in that job, she spent a further 10 years with the Norwegian Oil Industry Association (OLF) before joining the NPD in 2007. “I’m enjoying myself here very much,” she says. “I like working with facts in a flat and multidisciplinary organisation. It’s incredibly educational.”

Ms Jarandsen is very concerned that decisions on political policies should be based on facts rather than emotions, and points out that environmental studies are a science.

“You don’t have to be an idealist to work in this field. I’m certainly not, at any rate.”

After work on the climate cure has been completed, she is due to begin another demanding project for the NPD – updating the management plan for the Barents Sea and the waters off Lofoten.

“We’re currently in the most demanding phase. The team is discussing measures and tools, and all the agencies must support our conclusions.” 

The final report from Climate Cure 2020 will cover three points

  • Assessing anticipated emission prices in 2012, 2015 and 2020.
  • Reviewing international goals and instruments in Norwegian climate policy, particularly with reference to European developments and their likely impact on Norway’s tools.
  • Assessing the need for new or amended tools in Norwegian climate policy. Particular weight will be given to instruments which help to meet the goal of trimming 15-17 million tonnes from annual emissions by 2020. At the same time, tools are sought which can provide efficient and cost-effective emission management in the longer term.


Topics: Environment