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Opportunities through Nordic and Global collaboration

Nordic and global collaboration of public and private actors is critical to fostering and accelerating the transition to a carbon neutral future. The “Nordic Stocktake – Pathways to climate neutrality” report highlights several areas where public and private action can be supported by knowledge sharing, analysis, and roadmaps:


  • Knowledge-sharing on increasing acceptability - and reducing potential negative impacts on nature and local populations - for renewable energy installations
Despite the extensive academic research done on addressing local opposition and promoting local support, very few initiatives have actually been shown to help in overcoming the challenges. Knowledge-sharing could be done bilaterally between the Nordic countries or in a dedicated network/forum hosted by the Nordic Council of Ministers. Relevant stakeholders would be energy agencies, municipalities and/or other local government level representatives and renewable energy developers.
  • Cross-Nordic analysis/overview on future energy supply and demand, especially regarding balancing power capacity supplementing increasing renewable power
There is a need for further cross-Nordic analysis on the future of the Nordic energy supply and demand. Knowledge is particularly needed with respect to the future options for flexible energy demand. This is valuable information for policy makers in the Nordic countries and for the assumptions underlying national projections and analysis on ensuring a stable and secure energy supply towards climate neutrality.
  • Knowledge-sharing on energy efficiency policies.
None of the five Nordic countries have a dedicated strategy for energy efficiency. The Nordic Council of Ministers could promote this agenda by commissioning studies on energy efficiency policies and their impacts across the Nordic countries.

Domestic transport:

  • Developing a Nordic roadmap for the sustainable development, production, and use of biofuels and synthetic fuels
The Nordic Council of Ministers should commission a cross-Nordic study on how the development, production and use of different types of biofuels in the Nordic region could best contribute to a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions over the coming decades, avoiding overutilization of sparse bio-resources and negative externalities. The work should conclude with a Nordic roadmap.
  • Developing a strategy for how to reallocate ICE cars to those users and uses that would have the lowest travel needs and a supporting assessment framework to identify the GHG trade-offs of different policies
The Nordic Council of Ministers could assist the countries with phasing out ICE car dominance by developing a strategy for how to potentially reallocate ICE cars to those users and uses that would have the lowest travel needs and vehicle kilometers, via suitable policy measures, considering socio-economic and mobility impacts. To support and advice this strategy, an assessment framework to address GHG trade-offs between policies that would shift ICE cars to lower use, exporting to external regions, or early scrappage should also be developed in parallel.
  • Supporting urban action plans for zero emission passenger and freight transport
This would include analyzing and comparing multi-level governance frameworks and arrangements for decarbonized sustainable mobility in urban regions. Different levels of government have responsibilities for different parcels of the spatial domain, different sections of the transport system, and different levers in the policy toolbox. Aligning transport planning and policy measures across levels of government therefore has the potential to achieve more effective decarbonization.
  • Knowledge-sharing on promoting public transport across the Nordic countries to further lower emissions from the use of ICE cars, and coordination of rail transport systems across the Nordics

Industrial processes:

  • Piloting public procurement for low-carbon industrial products.
To leverage the muscle of Nordic public procurement, a forum/network for Nordic public procurers should be established. Within this network, best practices to sustainable procurement of low-carbon industrial products can be shared and common practices developed.
  • Knowledge-sharing on best practices in incentivizing direct electrification of suitable industrial processes across the Nordic countries
Knowledge-sharing across the Nordic countries could take place both at the government level: sharing experiences and best practices in how to incentivize direct electrification of the industrial sector; and at the industry level: sharing knowledge on direct electrification practices in different subsectors and how to overcome barriers.
  • Intensify collaboration on the value chain of Carbon Capture and Storage across the Nordic countries
As recently recommended in the report on Regulatory framework for CCS in the Nordic countries (2023)
Nordic Council of Ministers (2023, June 22). Regulatory framework for CCS in the Nordic countries. Retrieved from, https://pub.norden.org/temanord2023-521/index.html
, the Nordic countries should intensify their cooperation and dialogue, providing for joint efforts to build knowledge, sharing of Nordic experience and lessons learned coordinated through a Nordic forum for collaboration on CCS.
  • Develop a joint Nordic CCS strategy to increase the potential to realize economies of scale in transportation and storage infrastructure for captured carbon dioxide
In the same vein as the previous recommendation, the Nordic Council of Ministers could lay the groundwork for a joint Nordic CCS strategy. This has also been recommended by Nordic Energy Research in their Nordic Clean Energy Scenarios (2021)
Wråke, M., Karlsson, K., Kofoed-Wiuff, A., Bolkesjø, T.F., Lindroos, T.J., Hagberg, M., Simonsen, M.B., Unger, T., Tennbakk, B., Jåstad, E.O., Lehtilä, A., Putkonen, N. & Koljonen, T. (2021). Nordic Clean Energy Scenarios: Solutions for Carbon Neutrality. Nordic Energy Research. Retrieved from, https://norden.diva-portal.org/smash/get/diva2:1589875/FULLTEXT02.pdf
. A joint Nordic CCS strategy could inspire similar regional cooperation across the globe, illustrating how countries with different (geographical and technical) opportunities for BECCS can work together.
  • Nordic research on governance and business models for generating CO2 removal (negative emissions)
We recommend that the Nordic Council of Ministers – for example through Nordic Energy Research or Nordic Innovation – provide funding for further cross-Nordic research into incentive schemes for producing negative emissions and the practicalities and consequences of implementing these in the Nordic region.
With regards to Waste management, emissions are low and declining and Nordic collaboration efforts should thus focus on governance of waste more generally – and not just on territorial emission from the waste management sector. There are options and need for more Nordic collaboration in improving conditions for the circular economy. 

Agriculture, forestry, and land-use:

  • Knowledge sharing and research co-operation on addressing emissions from organic soils
This research could include investigations into the climate benefit of restoring wetlands, providing important knowledge for future political decisions and prioritization of efforts. It could also cover the cost-efficiency and social acceptability of various policies to address organic soil emissions. The research could further be expanded to alternatives to conventional farming on peatlands
  • Knowledge sharing on carbon pricing in agriculture – risks and incentive structures
  • Nordic research on climate accounting on farms and improving knowledge on ways to reduce emissions on the farm from livestock, such as manure management – including biogas production, crop cultivation, and fodder additives to reduce methane releases from ruminants
  • Studies on examples on how to improve the conditions for producers of plant-based proteins, both in terms of research, education, and regulatory frameworks
The recommendation above has also previously been recommended in Nordic Food Transition: Low Emissions Opportunities in Agriculture (2021).
  • Target Nordic research and innovation funds towards plant-based production

Further opportunities for Nordic collaboration

In addition to the opportunities from Nordic collaboration that arise directly from the shared challenges in the different sectors, the project has identified further opportunities for Nordic collaboration:
  • A study on Nordic scenarios for climate neutrality (at the Nordic level)
To identify all the areas of high value for further Nordic collaboration, a natural follow-up to this project is a Nordic-level study on scenarios for climate neutrality, aligned with previous work done by Nordic Energy Research (Nordic Clean Energy Scenarios, 2021
Wråke, M., Karlsson, K., Kofoed-Wiuff, A., Bolkesjø, T.F., Lindroos, T.J., Hagberg, M., Simonsen, M.B., Unger, T., Tennbakk, B., Jåstad, E.O., Lehtilä, A., Putkonen, N. & Koljonen, T. (2021). Nordic Clean Energy Scenarios: Solutions for Carbon Neutrality. Nordic Energy Research. Retrieved from, https://norden.diva-portal.org/smash/get/diva2:1589875/FULLTEXT02.pdf
). The central research questions of this study could be (I) Ignoring national borders, what combination of initiatives in the different sectors achieves climate neutrality in the Nordic region by 2040/2050? (II) What are the consequences for national climate policy?
  • Knowledge-sharing on efficient climate policy collaboration between government levels
Many government levels are involved in implementation of climate policy initiatives in the Nordic countries, and cooperation between them is key to efficient and effective implementation. The Nordic Council of Ministers could commission a study on collaboration between government levels on climate policy initiatives and strategies. The study should result in best-practice examples and recommendations for efficient collaboration across government levels on climate policy initiatives/strategies.
  • Coordination and transparency on assumptions for climate neutrality strategies and pathways in the Nordic countries
National strategies and pathways towards climate neutrality depend on and rely on assumptions about the development in other countries. If these assumptions are incorrect, the viability of national plans changes.
  • Coordination of value chains on waste, CCS and bioenergy across the Nordics to enhance efficiency and economies of scale effects in terms of money, energy and GHG emissions
  • Increased knowledge-sharing (“best practices”) and collaboration on addressing consumption-based emissions in the Nordic countries
Across the Nordic countries, there are few policies and strategies targeting consumption-based emissions. Addressing these emissions are important not just for reaching climate neutrality in the Nordic region but also for contributing to global emission reductions.
  • Collaboration on a just and fair transition, incl. more research on making carbon taxes and pricing fair
There is a need for pooled resources on and further investigation into ensuring a just and fair transition across the Nordic region. As all the Nordic countries must intensify their efforts towards reaching climate neutrality, the risks of adverse and regressive effects of policies and initiatives multiply, for example policies that e.g. affect low-income more than high-income groups.