Oslo street scene: Nissan Leaf, Volkswagen e-Golf, Tesla Model S, July 2015Enlarge Photo
With yesterday's release of final EPA rules for reducing carbon emissions from power plants, the stage is set for a major battle over how--and even whether--any carbon emissions in the U.S. may be limited.
Meanwhile, there's Norway.
As Ola Elvestuen, a member of Parliament there as well as Chair of the Standing Committee on Energy and the Environment, told the EV Roadmap 8 conference in Portland last week, the country committed to reducing its carbon emissions and is carrying out a variety of policies to do just that.
Elvenstuen's keynote address was quietly inspirational, methodically laying out the data and the steps required to cut carbon emissions that Norway has embarked on.
His presentation, "EV Policies in Norway: Market Transformation to Renewable Energy," underscored the critical role of electric cars in cutting carbon emission from transportation.
2016 Bentley Continental GT Speed, First Drive, Oslo, NorwayEnlarge Photo
Norway may be unique in its ability to take advantage of electric cars; the country generates 97 percent of its electricity from renewable sources already, largely hydroelectric. In other words, it already has a very, very low carbon footprint for electricity.
But, Elvestuen pointed out, that cuts both ways: There are no coal or natural-gas powerplants that can be converted to renewable sources.
So to cut carbon by 40 percent from 1990 levels in just 15 years, a very large portion of the reduction has to come from transport--which represents one-third of the country's total carbon emissions.
Tesla Model S taxi in Oslo, Norway [photo: Tesla Motor Club]Enlarge Photo
Accordingly, the city of Oslo (which houses 1.4 million of Norway's 5.1 million citizens) intends to become "an example for the world" in cutting greenhouse-gas emissions from transportation.
Walking, cycling, and public transit come first, of course, said Elvestuen. But private vehicles are a fact of life, and so they must do their share.
ALSO SEE: Norway: The Friendliest Place In The World For Electric Cars (Sep 2013)
The goals are simple:
To enable this transformation, electric cars have been granted a huge menu of incentives.