Young Voices from the Arctic: Insights on Climate Change and Permafrost Degradation
The Arctic is warming at four times the global rate, significantly impacting communities, especially the youth. This working paper emphasizes the need to amplify Arctic youth voices and calls for more research on youth engagement to address the impacts of climate change and permafrost degradation. The Arctic region is warming almost four times as fast as the global average. Snow and ice are thawing at an increasing rate, and the rapid environmental shifts have a disproportionate effect on communities across the Northern Hemisphere. This leads to significant permafrost degradation, which disrupts community infrastructure, cultural heritage, landscapes, and impacts animal migration and subsistence activities. This change has severe consequences for the youth in the region, affecting their present lives and future outlooks. This working paper emphasizes the importance of addressing these issues and enhancing the voices of Arctic youth, who advocate for climate change adaptation and mitigation, as they will be central in shaping society in the face of these environmental shifts. The paper highlights Arctic youths’ perspectives on climate change and permafrost degradation, covering individuals from the legal age to early-career experts up to 35. Further, the paper states a need for more research and exploration of youth engagement methodologies in the Arctic to address the impacts of climate change and permafrost degradation.
Can local value creation induce a sense of justice during green transitions? A study of six rural areas in Denmark, Finland, and Norway
Nordic rural areas risk alienation due to top-down green transition measures that often overlook their unique needs and challenges. This report suggests early local engagement, transparent communication, and regional ownership of energy projects can foster trust, ensure equitable benefits, and better integrate projects with local aspirations. The accelerating impacts of climate change, the need to adapt to changing economic and political realities, and the recent energy crisis have made the green transition something that most Nordic citizens acknowledge. However, especially rural areas and their communities are at risk of being reduced to passive instruments of national green transition measures featuring heavy land-use. These conditions make it very difficult to create a sense of justness in green transitions, leading to growing sense of alienation and resentment and putting the national climate goals in danger. From this starting point, the case studies of the research project “Just Green Transition on Rural Areas: Local Benefits from Value Creation” set out to examine what kind of benefits would generate value from green transition measures in the direct impact zone of new energy projects. The case studies took place in three Nordic countries and six locations: in Northern Ostrobothnia and Northern Central Finland of Finland, involving wind power and land use planning; in Nord-Fron and Nord-Odal in Norway, involving both wind power and strategic sustainability work; and in Skive and Bornholm of Denmark, involving a hybrid mix of renewable energy sources in the context of industrial park development. The results highlight the importance of local involvement and trust in green energy transitions in Nordic rural areas. Neglecting local needs can cause resistance to renewable projects. Early engagement, transparent communication, and ensuring local benefits are vital. While monetary benefits attract attention, relying solely on them can create community divisions. A blend of community engagement, environmental benefits,…
The OECD Rural Agenda for Climate Action Compendium of Best Practices: Peatland ACTION
Peatland ACTION is a programme delivering peatland restoration projects across Scotland to tackle climate change and biodiversity loss. Peatlands are terrestrial wetland environments where the peat – a dark brown substance like soil – is waterlogged for most of the year. 80% of the UK’s peatlands, the majority of which are in Scotland, are estimated to be in poor condition. In their natural state, peatlands represent the single most important terrestrial soil carbon store. Yet, activities such as artificial drainage, forestry, over-grazing and extraction, result in the peatlands emitting carbon dioxide and greenhouse gases (GHG), thereby contributing to climate change. In addition, other benefits of healthy peatlands such as source-water quality, flood management and addressing wildfire risks are much reduced. The UK’s GHG inventory estimates that degraded peatlands are contributing over 15% of Scotland’s GHG emissions. To reverse this trend and ensure that peatlands act as a carbon storage, Peatland ACTION provides funding to land managers to restore peatlands as well as advisory services, project design and restoration management. This storymap was produced as a collaboration between Nordregio and the OECD Rural Agenda for Climate Action.
Integrating climate in macroeconomic modelling: A Nordic perspective
This policy brief summarises key messages from a webinar series hosted by the Integrating climate in macroeconomic modelling (ICMM) project during the second half of 2022 and the first half of 2023. The main goal of the project was to foster discussions about a new generation of fair and cost-effective climate policies and how relevant integrated macroeconomic models are in the process. Additionally to find collaboration opportunities between experts and policy makers from countries within and outside the Nordics. In the wake of recent climate policy discussions at the EU, Nordic and national levels, the webinars were designed to grow expert and policy-planning knowledge and expand networks among model developers and model users from different Nordic countries. More than 100 experts and policy makers with different backgrounds and profiles have participated in the six technical and policy workshops organised by the project. Ultimately, the ICMM project strives to enhance the capacity of policymakers to develop climate policies that are both sustainable and integrated, aligning with the Nordic region’s “Our Vision 2023” ambition to become the most sustainable and integrated region in the world.
The OECD Rural Agenda for Climate Action Compendium of Best Practices: GreenLab
The GreenLab industrial park in Skive, Denmark, is a best-practice example of a circular economy model and renewable energy utilization. The park integrates renewable energy sources and enables companies to share surplus energy and resources through an intelligent grid called SymbiosisNetTM. It also focuses on turning agricultural waste into valuable resources, reducing carbon emissions, and driving regional development. GreenLab is a research facility that promotes innovation and attracts private investments. The park has created economic, social, and environmental benefits for the local community and serves as a model for green innovation and rural development. The future vision of GreenLab is to become a leading global centre for sustainable energy and expand its impact by advising other regions interested in replicating the model. This storymap was produced as a collaboration between Nordregio and the OECD Rural Agenda for Climate Action.
Healthy and sustainable food futures: Policy design for behaviour change
This brief outlines a range of interventions and measures that policymakers can implement within the Nordic food environment to encourage sustainable and healthy food choices. These interventions encompass strategies related to nudging and product design, as well as economic incentives such as implementing taxes and subsidies on specific food categories. By employing these policies, policymakers can effectively govern the food environment and facilitate a shift in consumption patterns towards healthier and more sustainable options.
The Role of 5G in the Transition to a Digital and Green Economy in the Nordic and Baltic Countries: Analytic Report
The report provides an overview of the status of 5G roll-out and its industrial uptake in the Nordic-Baltic region. The aim is not only to present the roll-out status across the region but also to put these insights into a broader political and technological context. The report describes some of the most relevant testbeds and policy initiatives, provides examples of successful and promising use cases, and highlights existing strengths and ongoing challenges in the Nordic-Baltic region. Juxtaposing these against established goals emphasises areas for possible future cooperation and knowledge exchange between the Nordic and Baltic actors to encourage sustainable innovation and competitiveness across the region. The report reveals notable variations in the progress of 5G coverage among the Nordic-Baltic countries. Denmark and Finland have made significant strides and surpassed the European Union average regarding 5G coverage, while other countries still face challenges in catching up. Despite the presence of numerous 5G activities, such as testbeds and innovation hubs, a considerable number of initiatives remain in the testing and prototyping stage. The report indicates that the full potential of 5G for innovation and competitiveness in the Nordic-Baltic region has yet to be fully realised. With the accelerated digitalisation brought by 5G, the importance of cyber security considerations increases. As 5G networks increase electricity demand, it is essential to consider the environmental footprint and societal effects of their rollout. While 5G has immense potential, it necessitates significant adjustments in various areas, including network infrastructure, systems, applications, data ethics, privacy, and workforce implications. Challenges related to social inclusion further underscore the importance of cooperation and synergy across the region. The report highlights the need for increased knowledge exchange, the formulation of common roadmaps, and the establishment of guidelines to promote harmonised 5G deployment. Collaborative efforts among stakeholders are crucial for maximising the benefits…
Competence mobility: How can labour market mobility in the Nordic Region be increased?
It has been possible to work in another Nordic country since the establishment of the joint Nordic labour market in the 1950s. Nevertheless, only 1.7% of the working-age population work in a different Nordic country from the one in which they were born, and only 0.5 % commute to a job in another Nordic country. This is below the EU average of 1%. This story map examines why people choose to work in another Nordic country and why not. Welcome to explore facts about the Nordic labour market mobility and stories of people experiencing Nordic labour market mobility in Greater Copenhagen, Greenland and Vestfold Telemark.
How can labour market mobility in the Nordic Region be increased?
In this policy brief, we provide recommendations to the Nordic policymakers that would ultimately help achieve the Nordic vision – to be the most sustainable and integrated region in the world by 2030. This policy brief is based on the research project Re-start competence mobility in the Nordic Region, which is part of the regional co-operation programme and the “Green, Innovative and Resilient Regions” thematic group funded by the Nordic Council of Ministers.
Facilitating cross-border transport infrastructure planning in the Nordic Region
This publication analyses the formal and informal barriers to developing cross-border transport infrastructure and how these barriers could be reduced. Transport infrastructure, historically, has been a cornerstone for industrialisation, economic growth, regional development and labour market mobility in the Nordic Region. Despite the ambitious Nordic vision of becoming the most integrated and sustainable region in the world and the increasing need for cross-border transport infrastructure, several studies point to difficulties and challenges regarding the Nordic cross-border transport infrastructure planning. The study features interviews with planners on their practical experiences and suggestions for developing well-functioning transport infrastructure. The study includes cases of the fixed HH link between Helsingborg and Helsingør; the Stockholm-Oslo rail link; and the link from Mo i Rana, via Hemavan and Umeå, across the Kvarken Strait to Vaasa. 20 June: How can cross-border planning of the transport infrastructure be strengthened in the Nordic region? The Nordic cross-border transport infrastructure planning topic will be discussed in the webinar organised by Trafikverket on 20 June. Anna Lundgren, Senior Research Fellow at Nordregio, and the project manager, will present the study, cross-border challenges and opportunities. The study and planning practices will be discussed by Stefan Engdahl, Planning Director, Maria Öberg, Strategic planner at Trafikverket, and Maria Stockhaus, Member of the Swedish Parliament, member of the Transport Committee and the Nordic Council’s Swedish delegation. The event will be held in Swedish. Registration is open by 20 June. About the project This report is the second and final report in the project titled NORDINFRA – “Nordic transport infrastructure planning – institutional barriers and opportunities for coordination” (Nordisk transport infrastrukturplanering. Institutionella hinder och möjligheter till samordning) (2021-2023). NORDINFRA is a research project led by Nordregio and conducted by researchers from Nordregio and Umeå University, financed by the Swedish Transport Administration (Trafikverket). The aim of…
Overview of Electricity and Energy Capacity for the Establishment of Electric Aviation Routes in the Nordic Region
This report explores which routes in the Nordic Region will be suitable for establishing electric aviation according to two factors: energy demands of airports and regional power adequacy. The report is part of the Nordregio project Electric aviation and the effects on the Nordic Regions and substantially builds on the project’s Accessibility study. The Accessibility study identified 203 airports in the Nordic Region as feasible for accommodating electric aviation, on the basis of savings in transport time, connecting rural areas with urban or other rural areas, and overcoming cross-water distances or other geographical obstacles. It is impossible to clarify the energy capacity and infrastructure adequacy of all 203 airports within the scope of this report. Consequently, a regional perspective on the power adequacy is applied for the report assessments. This will assist in the selection of reasonable case studies, which will be explored in the next stages of this project, for the first generation of electric aviation in the Nordic Region. It is important to emphasise that power conditions and connections of local distribution grids differ within regions, as does the energy demand of airports. Standard conditions of battery electric airplanes, power demands, and charging infrastructure are described in the following chapters, with an aim to understand requirements for power capacities and infrastructure to adequately support electric aviation.
Electric Aviation Outlook in the Nordics
Regarding geographical accessibility questions, the five Nordic countries stand out in Europe due to their low population density, geographic variety including fjords, lakes, and mountains but also the prominence of sustainable energy sources. Before this backdrop, electric aviation holds the potential to make the region’s transport sector more sustainable while helping to overcome regional development and accessibility challenges, particularly in rural areas. The introduction of electric airplanes in local transport networks promises the reduction inter alia greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution. While several options to achieve zero- or low-emission aviation are currently being developed, this report focuses primarily on the electrification of aviation. Yet, electric aircraft still face several technical and economic challenges, including limited range and passenger capacity. Despite these limitations, this working paper highlights a heightened interest in the introduction of electric aviation, exploring the existing situation, challenges and knowledge in the 5 Nordic countries.
Implementing Electric Aviation: Critical Factors and Relevant Policy Instruments
The Nordic countries have ambitious plans to turn electric aviation into a reality in the Nordic countries in the near future. This working paper describes some critical factors that might challenge the further development and establishment of low and zero-emission aviation in Nordic countries. A special focus will be placed on purely electric aviation solutions. The publication is based on a literature review comprising first and foremost reports published in recent years in the Nordic countries, resulting from in-depth studies on low and zero-emission aviation in the region. It further presents possible policy instruments which could serve the creation of a Nordic policy framework to help address the identified challenges and support the implementation of electric aviation and other solutions in the Nordic countries.
Essential Service Provision and Access to Services in Nordic Rural Areas
This policy brief explores the challenges facing service provision in Nordic rural areas due to societal and demographic changes, climate change, and globalization, and highlights the need for adapted approaches to service provisions. The policy brief analyses essential service needs and solutions to rural service provision challenges in the Nordic region through case studies and workshops. The publication finds that these changes have a broad impact on rural service provision beyond traditional welfare services, with some gaps still existing. Financial constraints and labour shortages remain major issues in rural service provision. The policy recommendations include providing better guidance and resources for prioritizing delegated tasks at the national level, supporting remote working opportunities, establishing a service fund for local investments, assisting regions in adapting services to climate change, and recruiting people from abroad to combat financial restraints and labour shortages at the local level. Additionally, the recommendations suggest utilizing local and regional strategic planning tools, encouraging dialogue between different levels of government and local businesses, and enhancing collaborations between regions and municipalities. Finally, the policy recommendations emphasize delegating tasks to local levels for optimal efficiency.
In all fairness: perceptions of climate policies and the green transition in the Nordic Region
The Nordic countries have set ambitious goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40% by 2030 compared to 1990, but achieving these goals will require significant changes in policies and behaviors. The project Not Just a Green Transition (NJUST), aims to provide knowledge and recommendations on how to engage all Nordic citizens in a green transition that transforms the Nordic Region into the most sustainable and integrated region in the world. The survey focuses on climate policies as fundamental enablers in the shift towards a low-carbon society and covers the Nordic region’s general attitudes towards climate change, current and expected effects of climate change mitigation policies, and the fairness of climate change mitigation policies. The report provides insights into how people across the region perceive the green transition and suggests policy measures that can help mitigate potentially negative effects.
Nordic economic policy review 2023
This issue of Nordic Economic Policy Review explores the implications of new EU-wide climate policy in the Nordic countries. All of them have introduced more ambitious targets for abatement than the EU, but are the national targets and measures consistent with the EU’s new Fit for 55 package? If not, how should national policies be made consistent with EU policy? EU directives set targets for national climate policy, but member states are free to choose the means of achieving them. Are national measures to meet targets set by EU directives efficient? If not, how can they be made so? What are the costs and benefits of national climate policy aiming for more stringent targets than those under Fit for 55? We have put these questions to experts on the economics of climate policy in Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden.
The OECD Rural Agenda for Climate Action Compendium of Best Practices: Celtic Renewables
Celtic Renewables is an innovative biotech company in Grangemouth, Scotland, that converts whisky production waste into valuable biochemicals as sustainable alternatives to petrochemicals. Their technology has powered the world’s first car fueled by bio-butanol from whisky residues. They aim to replace petrochemicals, decarbonize transportation, and set high sustainability standards. The company creates jobs, contributes to the local economy, and envisions global replication of its technology to convert billions of tonnes of organic waste into valuable resources, driving environmental and economic benefits in a new bio-refining industry.
Innovation Dynamics in Wood Construction in Sweden and Finland
The rapid developments in wood-construction and the huge expectation built around the potential of ‘greening’ the construction sector by replacing concrete and steel with wood provide our empirical ground to study the drivers of innovation. This publication provides the results of a case study on the construction sector transformation process triggered by the emergence of wood-based construction in Sweden and Finland, particularly of multi-storey buildings. We especially aim at reconstructing the micro-processes leading to innovations and breakthroughs in the market. Interviews with a variety of stakeholders have contributed to a reconstruction of a historical overview of some of the main events and drivers decisive for the industry’s development, from far past industrial and policy-driven steppingstones to more recent developments. In our analysis, we zoom into the more granular microprocesses that become evident when examining the interactions between actors within and beyond their formal roles. The publication is one of the outcomes of the project titled “Systems perspectives on Green Innovation (GRINGO)” that explores the bottlenecks to innovation and the green transition from a systemic perspective. The project focuses on uncovering the links between agency and innovation, particularly regarding the role of different ‘change agents’ in driving transition processes. The previous step of the project consisted on exploring key concepts, their application, and their theoretical foundations within innovation and policy traditions. It concluded in the Discussion Paper: A conceptual review on the systems perspectives on green innovation, published in September 2022. The paper touches upon the academic discussion that has developed around the drivers of innovation. The debate breaks away from the simplistic structure-agency divide, which attributes causality either to structures (rules-of-the-game) or agency (actors), to consider the complex interplay between actors, formal and informal institutions, and contextual conditions determining innovation. These theoretical perspectives then guided the second step of the…
The Nordic Region and the 2030 Agenda: Governance and engagement (2021-2022)
The Nordic countries have continuously ranked at the top of international assessments with regards to SDG implementation. This does not mean, however, that sustainable development in the Nordic Region has been fully achieved. Each country continues to face numerous challenges, including unsustainable consumption and production patterns, the effects of a changing climate, as well as rebalancing our societies after multiple crises marked by the COVID-19 pandemic and ongoing recovery, energy supply shortages in Europe and the war in Ukraine. This report describes central policy decisions, actors and national structures in ongoing SDG work, and highlights inspiring examples of national networks and societal participation. Where information about more recent action has not been available, other supplementary aspects have been added, hence overlaps in the national chapters occur. The publication follows the report The Nordic Region and the 2030 Agenda from 2021, which looked at the ways in which national structures, action plans, monitoring and reporting along with international efforts for the SDGs took place across the region. Since the nature of this work changes in the respective countries from year to year, the purpose of this edition is to update and compile an overview of the 2030 Agenda efforts in the Nordic Region with relevant and accessible information. New to this edition are the sections on regional and local activities, work which lies at the core of accomplishing the global goals and targets, while also strengthening the Nordic countries’ leadership and grassroots involvement, leaving no one behind.
Scaling up Nordic impact through public procurement
In 2019, it was estimated that, of 5,000 Nordic start-ups, 10% included solutions that addressed the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). However, many of them struggled to make a profit, especially at the early stages and mostly due to a lack of access to the market and to the right supporters. Considering this, Nordic Innovation has funded this desk study for mapping barriers and enablers of impact start-ups through public procurement. This publiction consists of two sections: The first part addresses barriers to public procurement, enablers for social innovation, and institutional support measures. In part two, we evaluate how Nordic municipalities use alternative financial models such as social impact bonds (SIBs) and public-private partnerships to achieve social impact. The content is developed from the perspective of impact start-ups and entrepreneurs, institutions, public-private partnerships, and impact investors. Each perspective considers the barriers and enablers for impact start-ups according to their spheres of action. By reviewing the existing obstacles and opportunities facing impact start-ups in the Nordic Region, planners and policymakers can improve the legal framework to remove barriers and strengthen existing enablers to help impact start-ups meet societal needs.