During the last two centuries the atmospheric concentration of anthropogenic greenhouse gases has increased as a result of human activities. CO2 is one of the most important greenhouse gases and is considered to have a significant impact on the global climate change.

According to IPCC (2007) up to 85% reduction of the greenhouse gas emissions from present level is needed by 2050 in order to stabilise the current global temperature increase to 2°C over the pre-industrial level. In the climate and energy policy of the EU, one of the 2020 targets is to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions by 20%.

Industrial processes can be major sources of CO2 emissions, in particular power production, oil refining, pulp and paper production and the manufacturing of cement, lime, iron and steel. In 2007 the total CO2 emissions from Nordic industrial point sources (> 100 000 t/a) reached 167 million tons.

The largest CO2 emitting industry sector in the Nordic countries is power and heat production representing 36% of the total emissions. Most of the power and heat plants are situated in Finland and Denmark; the former with a majority of emissions of biogenic origin while the latter relies predominantly on coal combustion with only limited biomass co-firing. In Norway and Iceland there are only small CO2 emissions associated with power production as Norway exploits the hydropower resources and Iceland has based the power production on geothermal sources. Sweden has extensive power and heat production from which approximately half of the emissions are of biogenic origin.

The second largest sector is pulp and paper production accounting for 28% of the total emissions. The majority of the large pulp and paper plants are situated in Sweden and Finland. Most of the CO2 emissions from pulp and paper production are of biogenic origin.

Oil and gas activities represent the third largest sector emitting 15% of the total industrial CO2. This includes both offshore oil and gas activities and onshore refineries. Norway accounts for the largest share of this as a result of extensive offshore oil and gas industry. Also Denmark has a small share of the offshore oil industry. The remaining emissions from this industry sector come from onshore oil refining which can be found in all Nordic countries except Iceland.

Iron and steel production also accounts for significant CO2 emissions, about 8% of the total emissions. Most iron and steel plants are found in Finland and Sweden. Cement and lime production plants are found in all Nordic countries except Iceland, and account for about 5% of the total CO2 emissions. Other emissions are generated from production of chemicals, non-ferrous metal production and waste treatment or incineration.

Published May 9, 2012