Katrín Jakobsdóttir, Prime Minister of Iceland, announced on 12 December that Iceland would enhance its ambition in emissions cuts. The announcement came at the Climate Ambition Summit, convened by the United Nations, United Kingdom, and France, in partnership with Chile and Italy, at the 5th Anniversary of the landmark Paris Agreement.
Iceland‘s current pledge under the Paris Agreement is cutting emissions by 40% to 2030, compared to 1990, to be achieved as a collective effort of nearly 30 European countries under common rules. The Prime Minister announced that Iceland is willing to increase its level of ambition from the currently pledged 40% emissions cuts to 2030, to 55% or more. Iceland‘s recently updated Climate Action Plan, published in June 2020, will be strengthened further to reflect this goal, she said: ”New and strengthened climate actions will be part of a green recovery after a deep downturn due to Covid-19.”
Prime Minister Jakobsdóttir also announced increased efforts to remove carbon from the atmosphere: “To reach a net-zero future we must also remove carbon from the atmosphere. Iceland sees itself as a frontrunner in carbon removal. It is a key factor in our goal of reaching carbon neutrality before 2040.” Carbon from the atmosphere would be stored in geological formations or in soil and vegetation. Iceland has been a pioneer in a carbon capture and storage solution, which turns carbon dioxide into minerals in basaltic rock. Most carbon removal, however, takes place by land-use actions, or nature-based solutions – in afforestation, revegetation and wetland restoration. Actions in these sectors have recently been strengthened, but would be further increased, the Prime Minister announced.
In a third pledge at the Summit meeting, Prime Minister Jakobsdóttir announced that Iceland will increase its climate finance commitments in development cooperation, by increasing funding to climate related programs and projects by almost half, or 45%.
„Iceland wants to show a good example in fast-forwarding a cleaner future by innovation, ambition and good practices. It is our duty to our Paris commitments, and to our young people and future generations,“ Prime Minister Jakobsdóttir said.