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Last Updated: Tuesday, 2 January 2007, 17:08 GMT
Norway to offset flight emissions
Jens Stoltenberg
Mr Stoltenberg did not reveal the cost of the scheme
Norway has announced plans to offset the greenhouse gases produced by public employees when they fly abroad by buying emissions credits.

The move, which is intended to fight global warming, was announced by Norway's prime minister.

He said the scheme was thought to be the most ambitious of its kind in the world and hoped others would follow.

Under the scheme the government will buy credits to be invested in projects which reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Leading by example

"The government has decided that when state employees travel by plane abroad, we will buy quotas for the emissions caused by the trip," Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg said in his annual New Year's address.

He described the plan as "an example" for Norway's companies and other countries.

The estimated cost of the scheme would be around 2.5 million kroner ($400,000, 200,000) per year, according to the Norwegian news agency NTB.

That money would be invested in forestry to absorb carbon dioxide and in technologies which reduce the output of greenhouse gases.

Although the announcement was received favourably by some businesses and environmental groups, at least one organisation reacted with scepticism.

Norway's Nature and Youth environmental group said: "The government should first reduce its ambitions for the oil and gas sector in Norway, which accounts for a third of emissions of greenhouse gases."

Norway is the world's third largest oil exporter and a major exporter of natural gas.

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