Norway has reportedly pledged to fight against climate change with their new initiative by establishing the world’s first emission-free zone at sea.
The country’s parliament recently adopted a new legislation that would require all vessels including ships and liners to enter their iconic fjords to generate zero carbon emissions. It is believed that the ban would get into full effect in 2026. This implies that fjords with a world heritage designation like the Næerøyfjord (or west Norwegian Geirangerfjord) could be plied only by electric ships as of 2026.
With thousands of tourists visiting the fjords, the ban is expected to benefit both the environment and health of the tourists. And, in the context, Marius Holm, the head of the environmental foundation ZERO, said that for the first time in the world there was a requirement for emission-free sailing in the fjords and their harbours. He also added that the country had been pioneering in emission-free ferries based on sound political decisions on zero-emission requirements.
Many tourist companies are gearing for the 2026 deadline by revamping their existing ships to battery-powered electric propulsion or in the near future with hydrogen. In this context, many experts believe that the switch to zero-emission sailing technology would come much sooner than 2026, with Norway transitioning to a clean energy economy. Meanwhile, Katrin Blomvik, Director, Geiranger Fjord World Heritage Foundation, said the nation had an international responsibility to manage its world heritage sites, and they were happy with the decision on emissions-free fjords.
Many initiatives have already been taken like Fjord1, a key Norwegian ferry operator claiming to have placed a vital order with the Havyard Group to build a fleet of battery-electric ferries. Also, Future of The Fjords, a 42m long, carbon-fibre, all-electric catamaran, has begun operations. Also, in an effort to clean up fjord areas, the port authority of Oslo said that they would use drones to scan the waters for garbage and other pollutants.