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Norway greenhouse gas emissions up, over target

Date: 02-Apr-04
Country: NORWAY

Overall emissions, mainly of carbon dioxide from burning oil and gas in industry, rose by two percent in 2003 to 56.5 million tonnes and were eight percent above 1990 levels of about 52 million, it said.

Under the U.N.'s 1997 Kyoto protocol on global warming, Norway is meant to limit its greenhouse gas emissions to one percent above 1990 levels on average in the five-year period ending in 2012.

"Oil and gas production contributed to a considerable increase in greenhouse gas emissions in 2003," Statistics Norway said, pointing to rising natural gas output and use of gas to generate electricity on offshore platforms.

Norway is the number three oil exporter behind Saudi Arabia and Russia and produces about three million barrels of oil per day. It is also a major exporter of gas to Europe.

"Emissions from oil refineries, gas terminals and petrochemical industry increased due to a higher activity level," Statistics Norway said.

It also said some industries and households burnt more fossil fuels last year for uses like heating in a shift from traditional hydro-electricity after a brief rise in hydro-power prices linked to low reservoir levels.

Emissions also rose from road traffic and shipping. Among cuts, emissions from aluminium and fertilisers output fell in 2003 due to greater efficiency.

Most industrial nations are meant to cut their carbon dioxide emissions under Kyoto. Carbon dioxide is blamed for building up in the atmosphere and trapping heat, raising temperatures and threatening damaging climate change.

Norway is allowed a tiny rise, largely after arguing that its rising natural gas exports will help other European nations shift from even dirtier coal or oil.

Statistics Norway did not give a detailed breakdown of the sources of carbon dioxide. Many companies in Norway, including oil firms Statoil (STL.OL: Quote, Profile, Research) and Norsk Hydro (NHY.OL: Quote, Profile, Research) , say that their operations will comply with Kyoto's goals.

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