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The information presented in these pages is based on the reporting according to the Monitoring Mechanism Regulation (Regulation (EU) No 525/2013) and updates by the EEA member countries

Norway

Last update: 28 July 2015

Policy and legal framework

Norwegian Climate Adaptation Programme

In 2007, the Norwegian government established an inter-ministry working group to facilitate the efforts related to climate change adaptation (CCA). The working group was constituted by 10 ministries, headed by the Ministry of Climate and the Environment. The working group was supported by a Programme Secretariat, established at the Norwegian Directorate for Civil Protection and Emergency Planning (DSB) also in 2007. The responsibility for assisting the Ministry of the Environment in CCA matters is, as of 1 January 2014, with the Norwegian Environment Agency.A number of other actors have important responsibilities in CCA work, see description below.

 

In 2008 the government launched an initial 5 year work programme (only in Norwegian) focusing on enabling activities for adaptation at sectoral and various administrative levels. Its three pillars are:

1.       Identifying vulnerabilities and integrating CCA in key policy areas

2.       Developing the knowledge base, including research and a national vulnerability and adaptation assessment,

3.       Information and coordination, including a national clearing house and other capacity building efforts

 

National climate change adaptation strategy

The first White Paper on CCA was adopted by Stortinget (The Norwegian Parliament) in 2013, outlining national policies and guidance for adaptation in Norway. The White Paper represents the Norwegian national strategy for CCA.

 

The White Paper upholds that everyone is responsible for climate change adaptation – individuals, business and industry and the authorities. This is not a new responsibility. The white paper gives an account of what the authorities are doing to enable everyone to assume responsibility for climate change adaptation as effectively as possible, and establish a common framework for climate change adaptation across sectors and administrative levels.

 

The past years research efforts have been intensified, and a range of capacity- and competence-building measures have been implemented, especially at municipal level. Many authorities in different sectors and a large number of municipalities have already made a good start on their adaptation efforts.

 

The White Paper states that projections on future climate and knowledge are essential for effective climate change adaptation. Adaptation work must always be based on the best available knowledge about climate change and how the changes can be addressed. The Government therefore intends to ensure that the knowledge base for climate change adaptation is strengthened through closer monitoring of climate change, continued expansion of climate change research and the development of a national centre for climate services.

 

According to the White Paper, adaptation policies and measures should build on the best available knowledge. Thus, the Government plans for regular assessments of vulnerability and adaptation needs in Norway. Such assessments will be made if substantial new knowledge is available, related e.g. to the release of the assessment reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

 

Climate projections indicate a trend towards increased and more intense precipitation in Norway, which will result in more storm water runoff in urban areas (urban flooding). This requires an enhanced framework for managing urban flooding, especially in areas where there are large areas of impermeable surfaces such as roads and pavements. Challenges will also arise in connection with the development and densification of urban areas. The Government will therefore appoint a committee to evaluate the current legislation and as appropriate make proposals for amendments to provide a better framework for the municipalities responsible for managing storm water, to deal with the increasing challenges associated with urban flooding.

 

Sea level rise is a challenge associated with climate change addressed in the White Paper. Individuals, private companies, public bodies and local and central government authorities all have a responsibility for taking steps to safeguard their own property. Under the Planning and Building Act, the municipalities are responsible for ensuring that natural hazards are assessed and taken into account in spatial planning and processing of building applications. This includes the responsibility for considering implications from sea level rise and the resulting higher tides.

 

Climate change will result in a higher risk of damage caused by natural disasters such as floods and landslides. The Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate (NVE), has developed a climate change adaptation strategy including monitoring, research and concrete measures to prevent increased damages caused by floods and landslides in a future climate. In particular changes in flood magnitudes are taken into account in design flood estimates and flood contingency planning.

 

Norway has good public and private insurance schemes for insurance against disasters. This model is beneficial for society, as it provides a protection from financial risk associated with extreme weather events.

 

The local character of the impacts of climate change puts the municipalities in the front line in dealing with climate change. To enable the municipalities to ensure resilient and sustainable communities also in the future, adaptation to climate change must be made an integral part of municipal responsibilities. The Government therefore intends to draw up guidelines describing how the municipalities and counties can incorporate climate change adaptation work into their planning activities.

 

Information resources, networks for sharing experience, and cooperation with regional authorities will play an important part in climate change adaptation work at municipal level.

 

 

Common framework

All government agencies and local and regional authorities carry a responsibility for CCA within their field.

 

Since 1 January 2014, the Norwegian Environment Agency supports the Ministry of Climate and the Environment in its CCA work. The Norwegian Environment Agency will have a responsibility for providing the ministry with scientific knowledge on which to base policy decisions. The agency will also support the Ministry in its work in international forums such as the UNFCC and the IPCC. The ministry of Climate and the Environment will involve the agency in developing further guidelines for planning and regulations.

 

Another important task for the Environment Agency is to provide information on government adaptation efforts and promote exchange of experience and network building. In order to ensure knowledge sharing and disseminate results on the various activities, a website on adaptation to climate change is maintained. The website klimatilpasning.no provides tools, case studies and information on climate change adaptation for practitioners working in local governments, but should nevertheless be of value to a broader audience. The Environment Agency is responsible for the website.

 

A number of government agencies and academic institutions have responsibilities and knowledge relevant to estimates of future sea level rise. The Environment Agency is responsible for coordinating and provide  advice to the Ministry of the Environment concerning the projections for sea level rise on which policy decisions should be based.

 

Several authorities are responsible for various regulations regarding urban flooding and the municipal management of such issues. The Environment Agency is responsible for having an overview of the regulations, and will serve as a secretariat for a committee that is to review the current regulations.

 

The Directorate for Civil Protection (DSB) has an overall responsibility to monitor risk and vulnerability in society and to promote measures to prevent or reduce risk across sectors and levels. The directorate promotes measures to prevent or limit the impact of natural hazards. It coordinates work on civil protection across sectors and governmental levels and works to ensure that planning at local level takes various aspects of risk into account. DSB is also focal point for the International Disaster Risk reduction (ISDR) work and leads Norway's national platform on Disaster Risk Reduction.  According to DSBs responsibility for coordination and cooperation on civil protection, the directorate will advise municipalities on how to take into consideration sea level projections and storm surge into planning. The directorate will involve other relevant agencies in this work 

 

DSB supports the Ministry of Justice and Public security in coordinating civil protection and emergency planning efforts in Norway, in order to prevent or limit consequences of natural hazards and are responsible for following up the work done nationally, regionally and locally.

 

The Ministry of Petroleum and Energy has a regulatory responsibility for floods and landslides, assisted by the Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate (NVE). NVE supports municipalities and society at large in handling challenges related to floods and landslides including how to adapt to changes in floods and landslides caused by climate change. A White Paper on floods and landslides (Meld. St. 15 (2011-2012) (in Norwegian only) describes how the authorities work systematically with prevention and preparedness to ensure that the risk related to floods and landslides are acceptable.

 

The municipalities, county municipalities also play vital roles in the CCA efforts in Norway – see description under "local action"

Impact, vulnerability and adaptation information and assessments

A report on vulnerability to the impacts of climate change in Norway (Official Norwegian report on Climate Change Adaptation) was submitted by an independent expert committee to the Government in November 2010.  The committee was mandated by the Government to identify the impacts of and vulnerabilities towards climate change on Norway's natural environment and society and suggest measures to reduce vulnerability and increase resilience. The committee had 17 members representing key government institutions, industries and NGOs, and worked for two years involving a broad range of stakeholders. Although Norway has high adaptive capacity in many areas, the report concludes that lack of maintenance and repair in key infrastructures and fragmentation in the natural environment increases vulnerability towards climate change. The committee recommends the development of a more comprehensive and integrated national CCA strategy. 
 

Since 2008, the Norwegian website (Klimatilpasning.no), has provided tools, case studies and information on climate change adaptation. In 2010 an interactive mapwas added, showing future changes in temperature and precipitation in Norway in 2050 and 2100, with high, medium and low projections compared with the period 1961-90 (the standard period). The projections are based on the report Climate in Norway 2100 which was prepared on request from the expert committee preparing the Official Norwegian report on CAA . The report describes past, present and future climate, hydrology and conditions in the ocean including e.g. precipitation, temperature, wind, river flow including floods and droughts, snow, ocean acidification, sea ice and sea level rise.

In 2010 The Norwegian CCA Programme also launched the Guide: Climate Change Adaptation, primarily addressed to local and regional planners and decision-makers.

 

A report with estimated sea level rise in Norway in the 21st century (report only in Norwegian) was published in 2009, providing quantified projections for all coastal municipalities. As a follow up to this report,  the Programme Secretariat in DSB presented in 2011 practical guidelines to the municipalities on how to address sea level rise and storm surge in spatial planning.

 

The Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate (NVE) published the report Hydrological projections for floods in Norway under a future climate in 2011. Based on the findings in the report, climate change can be taken into account in flood estimations for Norwegian rivers.  This is used for design criteria estimates and flood contingency planning.

 

 The Norwegian Environment Agency provided a report on possible remedial actions within nature management to counteract the effects of climate change in the report;  "Climate Change - Nature Management Measures".

 

 

In 2009 the Norwegian government presented a white paper entitled "Climate Challenges – Agriculture part of the Solution"(pdf link). Adapting agriculture to climate change is an important part of the white paper.  The Norwegian Institute for Agricultural and Environmental Research (Bioforsk) has assessed the needs related to adapting agronomy, agricultural education, research and technology to climate change  (Norwegian only).

KLIMAFORSK is the Research Council's new, 10-year (2014-2023) programme for climate research. It replaces NORKLIMA which expired in 2013. The KLIMAFORSK programme is to be a broad-based, long-term research programme aimed at providing new, future-oriented knowledge of national and international significance. The primary objective of the KLIMAFORSK programme is to generate essential knowledge about the climate to the benefit of society. The KLIMAFORSK programme will provide support for basic research, applied research and innovation activities that will help to:

• Increase knowledge about natural and anthropogenic climate change;

• Improve knowledge about the impacts of climate change on the natural environment and society;

• Enhance knowledge about how society can and should mitigate and adapt to climate change.

Priority sectors and adaptation action

An overview of vulnerabilities, impacts and adaptation measures is provided in Norway's fifth National Communication under the UNFCCC, chapter 6.  A more comprehensive overview of vulnerabilities and possible priorities is presented in the before mentioned Official Norwegian reporton recommendations for a policy for adapting to climate change. The committee concludes that all sectors need to take responsibility for assessing and addressing the impacts of climate change on their areas of competence. The committee recommends that eco-system based management of our natural environment should be given priority and that the already existing regulation needs to be enforced with more strength. Further the committee points to all infrastructure sectors as vulnerable to climate change, in particular the sewage and water supply systems and buildings.

 

The White paper on adaptation was published in 2013 and will provide key priorities for adaptation in the years to come.

Engaging stakeholders: participation & capacity building

The county governor is important in following up the Government's policy on regional and local level. They play an important role in supporting the municipalities in their work on  adaptation, in particular related to risk and vulnerability analysis and land use planning. They also coordinate and cooperate the civil protection efforts, both  prevention and preparedness, on the regional level. The county governors have to ensure that climate change has been taken into consideration and followed up, both in municipal land-use plans and risk and vulnerability assessments.

 

The county municipalities also play an important role regarding guidance and coordination in relation to municipal and regional plans. The revised Planning and Building Act (2008) strengthens county municipalities' role as planning authorities.

 

The municipalities are in the frontline in carrying out CCA measures. The Planning and Building Act and the Civil Protection Act obligate the municipalities to carry out risk and vulnerability assessments. These assessments can be important in clarifying issues and areas of risk relevant to each municipality and in recommending initiatives for various players in order to reduce vulnerability.


A pilot project in Troms aims to guide the municipalities in how to integrate CCA efforts in social and spatial planning. The project partners are The County Governor in Troms, The Directorate for Civil Protection (DSB), The Norwegian Met Office, The Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate (NVE) and four municipalities in Troms. The objective with the project is to get an overview of the existing knowledge base for Troms county – i.e. existing knowledge,  the legal basis (which legal acts and sections), existing guidelines and directives, tools and resources useful and relevant for the municipalities in their CCA efforts.  By summer 2014, the project willsummarise experiences from the project and present how the municipalities can integrate CCA on different levels in their social and spatial planning, in a very detailed and concrete way. The project is also a pilot for the Norwegian Climate Service Centre, giving input to what kind of data the municipalities need and how to present the data in a way that is useful for them.

 

The Cities of the Future is a collaborative effort between the Government and the 13 largest cities in Norway to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to a changing climate. The Programme runs from 2008–2014. The 13 cities are: Oslo, Bærum, Drammen, Sarpsborg, Fredrikstad, Porsgrunn, Skien, Kristiansand, Sandnes, Stavanger, Bergen, Trondheim and Tromsø. The Cities of the Future are an important driving force for the climate change adaptation work in Norway. The cities' work has helped to speed up the climate change adaptation planning process in other municipalities.

 

An evaluation of the work shows that CCA now is a much more integrated element in the planning processes and that exchange of knowledge and information in the network have been a key success factor. The cities have developed CCA measures which have been presented on the portal Klimatilpasning.no to inspire other municipalities.



Case studies from different municipalities in Norway can be found on the CCA-Portal.

Summary table

Item Status Links
National adaptation strategy Completed: 5 year work programme; Comprehensive National Adaptation Strategy was adopted in 2013
Action plans Adopted
Impacts, vulnerability and adaptation assessments Completed
Research programs Currently being undertaken
Climate services / Met Office Being developed, limited services provided
Web portal Online
Monitoring, Indicators, Methodologies Being developed
Training and education resources
National Communication on the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change Submitted (2009)