Going Green: We can learn from countries reducing pollution

Wind farm. Photo: AdobeWind farm. Photo: Adobe
Wind farm. Photo: Adobe
The Northern Europeans are often cited as being ahead of the curve when it comes to green energy.

The Norwegians are leading the charge on electric vehicles – in 2022, 88 percent of vehicles sold were EVs. They have a great renewable energy record and the Norwegian government have pledged up to three billion Norwegian Krone (over £227 million) per year to help save tropical forests around the world so they’re outward looking to the rest of the world as well as inward looking towards their citizens.

Austria is another great example, Vienna has pledged to become carbon neutral by 2040, a huge undertaking, and Austria’s citizens use public transport more than a lot of other countries – over 663 million journeys happen annually in Vienna compared to 562 million in London

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Finland, Iceland, Sweden and Costa Rica are all other countries cited as having great green credentials – investing in renewable energy, driving their citizens onto public transport and they all have incredible restaurant scenes that champion local produce and low food miles.

But all isn’t as it seems sometimes when it comes to Northern Europe.

We know a lot of the countries in the region have access to the North Sea which which is rich in oil and unfortunately Norway – for all the good it does investing in green tech start ups – is a world leader in petroleum and natural gas exports.

The Norwegian government have said the country will continue to extract oil and gas until 2050 and beyond, which is incompatible with keeping global warming at ‘safe’ levels.

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Costa Rica, however, is one of the greenest countries in the world and is one of the first tropical countries to all but end deforestation, not only protecting its jungles but it’s wildlife too which is a huge step forward and a great example to set to South America and the rest of the world.

Costa Rica’s ocean territory is ten times larger than it’s continental area and it’s focussing on sustainable management of its marine resources too.

While it’s easy to fall for the headlines when it comes to countries that shout a lot about their green credentials, it’s always worth looking behind the headlines to see what their oil and gas background is because quite often the good that countries do is counter balanced by investment in old technology or resources that exist that harm the planet.

Many countries are keen to win the prize of securing investment into new growing industries such as wind farms and electric vehicle manufacturing. However, those who are leading the world are those who walk the talk. We can learn a lot from those countries who are leaping ahead in citizen engagement and reducing pollution.

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