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Statement at the Carbon Neutrality Coalition (CNC) Inaugural High-Level Meeting, New York

Carbon Neutrality Coalition (CNC) Inaugural High-Level Meeting
27. september 2018, 13:15-14:30
Höfuðstöðvar SÞ, Conference Room 7

My Government is strongly committed to the Paris Climate Agreement and our goal is to go even further than is envisaged in the Paris Agreement. At the One Planet Summit in Paris last year, we committed to developing a long-term implementation strategy by 2020, possibly sooner.

The Government decided to prioritize this urgent issue and, earlier this month, we announced a new Climate Strategy. With this strategy we intend to boost efforts in cutting net emissions and in land-use change and forestry. The new measures are to help Iceland meet its Paris Agreement targets for 2030 and reach the government‘s ambitious aim to make Iceland carbon neutral before 2040.

The Strategy consists of thirty-four government measures, ranging from an increase in afforestation to a banning the sale of new fossil fuel cars by 2030. The plan aims to transform the transportation system from using imported fossil fuels to a carbon-free system run on renewable energy.

An important part of our strategy is the period of consultation with industry, municipalities and civil society on how to implement the strategy and individual actions. Furthermore, the plan will also be subject to public consultation, and an updated Strategy will be published in 2019, taking into account comments and suggestions by civil society. The main emphasis of the new plan is on two measures - to phase out fossil fuels in transport and to increase carbon binding by afforestation, revegetation and restoration of wetlands.

The Government has secured substantial increase in funding for climate mitigation measures in the period 2019 – 2023 and a general carbon tax, already in place, will be gradually increased. Iceland already enjoys virtually carbon-free electricity and heating, thanks to its utilization of geothermal and hydro energy. Fossil fuels are used in transport and fisheries, and now the aim is set for a push in decarbonizing those sectors.

Among the measures announced in the new plan are: increases in government support for charging stations and other infrastructure for electrical transport and other clean fuels; support for biofuel production; a strengthening of already generous subsidies for electrical cars and other clean vehicles; and support for public transport and bicycling.

The strategy has been positively received by the public, in support of our clear determination to succeed in our goals in this most important issue.

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