Norway’s major parties agreed to a proposal to ban the sale of new gasoline and diesel-powered cars starting in 2025. This hasn’t yet become law, but marks the first time a nation has taken such a dramatic step towards green energy.
While 20-24% of Norway’s cars are already fully electric, this still marks a significant transformation for a nation that is Europe’s largest petroleum producer, with 20% of its GDP and 45% of its exports consisting of fossil fuels.
Who is most excited about this turn of events? Elon Musk tweeted some enthusiastic support, as his electric car company Tesla would certainly benefit from such a seismic shift.
Just heard that Norway will ban new sales of fuel cars in 2025. What an amazingly awesome country. You guys rock!! pic.twitter.com/uAXuBkDYuR
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) June 3, 2016
Other things awesome about Norway besides this and its Viking past include that more than 99% of its electricity comes from hydropower, and it aims to triple its capacity of wind power by 2020.
Would the United States follow suit? Norway’s leadership shows that an industrialized nation can make this kind of significant commitment. Of course, more of the U.S. Congress needs to actually believe in climate change to consider such measures. Many a Congressman, like Jim Inhofe (R, Oklahoma) point to such events as blizzards and cold weather in a particular year to refute global warming, standing in the way of climate-change-related bills and international agreements.
This, of course, goes against facts, like NASA declaring 2015 to be the hottest year on record. As a NASA press release explained: "Weather is what conditions of the atmosphere are over a short period of time, and climate is how the atmosphere 'behaves' over relatively long periods of time." It remains to be seen how many in the U.S. government will decide to be educated to such a distinction and make meaningful inroads on curbing American fossil-fuel dependence.