Climate forum: Recommends increase of a billion kroner for climate research

According to the Government-appointed Klima21 forum, Norwegian climate research needs a boost of NOK 1 billion by 2015, and the prime minister should establish a scientific advisory board on climate to facilitate dialogue between politicians and researchers.

The Klima21 forum recently submitted its final report to Minister of Research and Higher Education Tora Aasland. Appointed to develop a cohesive strategy for Norwegian climate research, the forum concluded that Norwegian climate research is currently too fragmented and underfunded, and the existing funding framework is too unreliable.

More funding, better dialogue

In its conclusions, the forum’s central steering group states that allocations to Norwegian climate research over the national budget need to be raised substantially, and should by 2015 be at least NOK 1 billion above the 2010 level. Additionally, to ensure that research-based knowledge is incorporated into policymaking, the forum recommends that the prime minister establishes a scientific advisory board on climate. This would make it possible for the Government to convene with researchers and key politicians for dialogue and the reciprocal exchange of knowledge.

Funding for research on renewable energy and CO2 management was increased as a result of the broad-based political agreement on climate policy achieved in the Storting in 2008. What is now most urgent is building up research-based knowledge about the climate system, the impacts of climate change and how to adapt to them, and how to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It is these areas that the Klima21 forum’s final report recommends are targeted for strengthening.

Establishing research for the long term

The Klima21 forum proposes the establishment of long-term research programmes and multiple new research centres within the field of climate. Moreover, there is a need for rights-based incentives in order to provide greater funding reliability to the research community and business sector.

The Government must coordinate climate research through such measures as continuing the mandate of the Klima21 strategic forum and ensuring coherent coordination of the funding and other activities related to climate research under the various ministries. The report also recommends that the Research Council is given responsibility for scientific coordination and evaluation of the overall efforts.

Research needs in three fields

Enhanced knowledge about the climate system, according to the Klima21 forum, is essential to all climate research. The levels of uncertainty in the models predicting the progression of climate change must be reduced, not least in regard to conditions in the Arctic.

The Klima21 forum also points to the need for more knowledge about climate change – and how society and various industries should adapt to the coming changes.

Moreover, research must contribute towards reducing greenhouse gas emissions. More research is needed in order to develop the framework and instruments for emission reductions and agreements, as well as to develop and implement emission-cutting technology.

30% cut in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020

The Klima21 report emphasises the need for more knowledge if Norway is to realise its target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 30 per cent by 2020. These political ambitions are still far from being matched by concrete action.

Source: The Research Council of Norway

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