Life expectancy of
Ecological footprint of
Norway’s landscape is dominated by mountains, islands and fjords. One of the wealthiest nations in the world, Norway ranks 12th in the Happy Planet Index - the highest scoring European country. Norway ranks very highly in terms of wellbeing, life expectancy, and having low inequality in those measures. But while Norway’s Ecological Footprint is smaller than several other wealthy countries, if every country in the world placed the same demand on the environment as Norway does, we would need three planet Earths to support us.
What’s going well?
Norway provides free education, public pensions and universal healthcare for its residents, and is widely considered to be an exemplar of social and economic success. In Norway, 82% of adults aged 25-64 have completed upper secondary education; more than 75% of adults are in paid employment and only 3% work very long hours; there is a strong sense of community and high levels of civic engagement; and both the poverty rate and the gender pay gap are amongst the lowest in the world. All of this is reflected in Norway’s wellbeing score, which is the second highest in the world (behind only Switzerland), and in Norway’s inequality of outcomes score, which shows that Norway has the 7th lowest inequality in wellbeing and life expectancy of all countries assessed.
What needs to change?
Norway is let down by its Ecological Footprint, which is almost three times the level considered sustainable.
The Norwegian government is taking steps to become greener, pledging to play a leading role in international negotiations, and relying on renewable sources for almost half of its primary energy supply in 2012.
One of the government’s latest steps to reduce its Ecological Footprint is the creation of the 2012 Climate Settlement, which has been adopted by Parliament. It contains a number of political (albeit non-binding) goals, including the aim to be carbon neutral by 2050. Norway has promised to bring this commitment forward to 2030 if other industrialised countries commit to undertaking large reductions in emissions.
Photo credit: CC Markus Trienke