Norway launches carbon-offset program for officials flying abroad

World leaders like to kick off the year with stirring energy-related pronouncements (see: “addicted to oil”). But this New Year’s Day, in a speech peppered with grand statements, Norway Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg made a concrete pledge: the country will begin buying credits to offset the greenhouse-gas emissions of all public employees who fly abroad. Motivated in part by warming trends and the fact that “children are no longer able to make snowmen,” Stoltenberg said the program, which a national news agency estimated would cost about $400,000 a year, could set an example. “If only a few do this, it means little,” he said. “If many join in, it can mean a great deal.” Currently, the only other country with such a program is Britain, which has been offsetting government travel since April. While Norway’s plan earned praise from some, others were less effusive, suggesting that as the world’s third-largest oil exporter, the nation should focus on home-based emissions first. Maybe next year.