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Greening the economy

Nordic experiences and challenges

image of Greening the economy

After the recent financial and economic crisis, greening the economy has become a major focus for international and national discussions: How to combine forceful and effective action to meet climate change and other environmental challenges with stronger and more sustainable economic development, in both developed and developing countries. This synthesis report on the Nordic countries' environmental policy experiences, focuses on the use of economic instruments and how this policy has contributed to the integration of environmental concerns into economic growth and development policies. The report demonstrates that the Nordic countries have been successful in achieving substantial reductions in several major pollutants and clear improvements in local and regional environmental quality, while maintaining an internationally respectable rate of economic growth. This decoupling of economic development from growth in emissions has been achieved through a range of policy instruments, with a strong and increasing element of economic, market-based instruments. The challenge, and the opportunity, for the Nordic countries is to strengthen and deepen such policies, with even more effective design of and combination of policy instruments, to deal with new and remaining threats to the local, national and international environment. The study was carried out by Vista Analyse AS and commissioned by the Nordic Council of Ministers for the Environment.

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Background: financial crisis and “Green Growth”

The integration of environmental concerns into economic growth and development policies has emerged as a priority concern of modern Nordic environmental policies since the 1970s. Sustainable development has been high on the international agenda since the 1992 Rio Earth Summit. Greening the economy through reduced emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs) and other pollutants, efficient use of natural resources, conservation of nature etc., while at the same time ensuring economic growth and poverty eradication, are key challenges to achieve a long term sustainable development in the world.

English

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