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4. Climate neutrality targets and emissions in the Nordic countries

4.1 Climate neutrality targets

Each of the five Nordic countries have set a target for climate neutrality and some of them are among the most ambitious targets in the world. Despite the specific definition and wording of the targets in the different countries, they will all be referred to in this report as “climate neutrality targets”.
Across the Nordic countries, climate neutrality targets differ with respect to what the targets encompass and how they can be reached. With the exception of Sweden, the Nordic countries include the land use, land-use change and forestry sector (LULUCF) when aiming for net-zero emissions – albeit with the caveat that the role of LULUCF in reaching climate neutrality in Iceland and Norway is yet to be determined. In Sweden, LULUCF can only be used as a supplementary measure (as described in the country chapter on Sweden).
In Norway, GHG removals outside national borders can be counted towards the target. In Denmark, Finland and Iceland, reductions and removals must currently take place within the national territory. In Sweden, similarly to how LULUCF is treated, supplementary measures allow for a certain percentage of the target to be achieved with reductions and removals outside national borders
Article 6 ITMOs
Table 1 below, summarises the targets of the Nordic countries and what the targets encompass. These are explained further in the country chapters.
Table 1: Climate neutrality targets in the different Nordic countries
Inclusion of international actions
Climate neutrality by 2050
Target includes all GHG emissions and LULUCF
Target must be reached with domestic actions
Climate neutrality by 2035
Target includes all GHG emissions and LULUCF
Target must be reached with domestic actions
Climate neutrality by 2040
Target includes all GHG emissions (accounting LULUCF(i) undecided)
At this point, the target must be reached with domestic actions
Climate neutrality by 2030 and low emission society from 2050 (90-95% emission cuts)
Target includes all GHG emissions (accounting LULUCF(ii) undecided)
The climate neutrality target is focused on contributions at the international level and can be reached with a combination of domestic and international actions.
The low emission society target must be reached with domestic actions, while the 90-95% can account for cooperation within the EU ETS.
Zero net greenhouse gas emissions by 2045(iii)
National target does not include LULUCF (except as a possible supplementary measure)
Target must be reached with domestic actions (except the option to counterbalance residual emissions using ITMOs(iv))
(i) It is stipulated that the exact inclusion of the LULUCF sector and its contribution to carbon neutrality must be elaborated further due to need to improve the data and unusually high share in total emissions.
(ii) The exact role of the LULUCF sector has yet to be determined
(iii) Swedish territorial GHG emissions must be at least 85 percent lower by 2045 at the latest in comparison with 1990. So-called supplementary measures may be used for the remaining 15 percent of emissions.
(iv) ITMO = Internationally Transferred Mitigation Outcomes.

4.2. Status of GHG emissions across the Nordic countries

Net GHG emissions in the Nordic countries, including emissions/removals from the LULUCF sector, have been reduced from 203 million tonnes of CO2e in 1990 to 150 million tonnes of CO2e in 2021, corresponding to a reduction of 26%.
Figure 1, below, illustrates the total Nordic territorial GHG emissions and net emissions from 1990-2021 with GHG emissions above 0 and removals below 0. The total net territorial Nordic GHG emissions are shown with a black line.
DK FI IS NO SE Nordic net emissions
Figure 1: Development of territorial GHG emissions and removal across the Nordic countries (incl. LULUCF), 1990-2021
Emissions and removals from the LULUCF-sector varies significantly across the Nordic region. Thus, Figure 2 below shows the net emissions from the Nordic countries without LULUCF. The emissions/removals from the LULUCF-sector in the Nordic countries is covered in more detail in the sector-chapter on “Agriculture, forestry and land-use”.  
Figure 2: Development of net territorial GHG emissions (excluding the LULUCF-sector) across the Nordic countries, 1990-2021