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Ministry for Foreign Affairs

Sixteen projects part of climate change action plan

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  • Increased funding for forestry, soil reclamation and wetland restoration
  • Infrastructure for electric vehicles
  • Government cooperation with fisheries and agriculture on reducing emissions
  • Iceland assumes leading role in international effort on geothermal exploitation
  • Work on adaptation to climate change

Today, the government of Iceland announced a three-year climate change action plan intended to sharpen Iceland's focus on climate change issues and to strengthen efforts in the policy area in order to achieve demonstrable results when it comes to the reduction of net emissions. The projects and areas of emphasis presented as part of the action plan are varied and often independent, but do share the goal of furthering the fight against climate change and better utilising individuals and businesses.

The plan is based on 16 projects aimed at reducing emissions, increasing carbon sequestration from the atmosphere, supporting international climate change projects and enhancing the government's capability to meet stricter climate change commitments. Emphasis is placed on the cooperation between government and businesses towards reducing emissions in specific sectors and promoting innovation and climate-friendly solutions.

Overall, eight of the projects are aimed at reducing net emissions of greenhouse gases in Iceland; in transportation, fisheries, agriculture and land use. A comprehensive plan will be submitted on energy conversion in transportation and groundwork laid for the improvement of infrastructure at the national level for electric vehicles. In fisheries and agriculture, roadmaps will be drawn up on the reduction of emissions through collaboration between industry and the authorities. Funding will be increased for soil reclamation and forestry and wetland restoration will be undertaken. Effort will also be made to reduce food waste which results in unnecessary emissions.

Four projects are aimed at increasing Iceland's cooperation with and support of other states in reducing emissions and addressing the consequences of climate change. A Global Geothermal Alliance will be established where Iceland will have a leading role. Support of developing countries will be increased, i.a. contributions to the Green Climate Fund, and the UN Land Restoration Training Programme will be enabled to hold courses in developing countries fighting desertification.   Iceland will be a more active participant in climate change projects under the auspices of the Arctic Council.

Organised work will commence on adaptation to climate change, which will i.a. be based on a report on the effects of changes in Iceland, set to be completed in 2016. Monitoring of glaciers in Iceland will be heightened with the aim of making the results accessible to scientists, the public and tourists; furthermore, the glaciers and their surroundings will be promoted as natural laboratories on climate change.

The action plan is put forth in connection with the COP21 conference in Paris where a global agreement will be made on reducing greenhouse gas emissions after 2030. Iceland supports an ambitious agreement in Paris with active participation from all states. Iceland has set out a national target in the lead-up to the conference by pledging to participate in the joint goal of European states to reduce emissions by 40% by 2030 compared to 1990 levels.

The action plan is not intended to be centralized, or to replace the current action plan on reducing net emissions, which has the purpose of ensuring that Iceland meets its obligations under the Kyoto Protocol until 2020. Leaders will be appointed for the projects and a progress report requested for each project next year.

The projects in the action plan will bring added momentum to work on climate change, involve more people and provide guidelines for targeted work in the long term on reducing emissions and increasing carbon sequestration.

The annex contains further information on individual projects and areas of focus in the action plan.

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Sixteen projects part of climate change action plan

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