Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on the day's biggest business stories

Subscribe to Axios Closer for insights into the day’s business news and trends and why they matter

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Stay on top of the latest market trends

Subscribe to Axios Markets for the latest market trends and economic insights. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sports news worthy of your time

Binge on the stats and stories that drive the sports world with Axios Sports. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tech news worthy of your time

Get our smart take on technology from the Valley and D.C. with Axios Login. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Get the inside stories

Get an insider's guide to the new White House with Axios Sneak Peek. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Denver news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Des Moines news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Twin Cities news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Tampa Bay news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Charlotte news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Nashville news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Nashville newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Columbus news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Columbus newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Dallas news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Dallas newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sign up for Axios NW Arkansas

Stay up-to-date on the most important and interesting stories affecting NW Arkansas, authored by local reporters

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Norway's Prime Minister Erna Solberg gestures speaks during the Government's press conference on reopening society after the coronavirus Covid-19 lockdown on May 7, 2020. Photo by Fredrik Hagen/NTB Scanpix/AFP via Getty Images)

Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg says electric vehicles have become a status symbol in her country, with widespread adoption spurred by government policies.

Why it matters: As shown in the viral Super Bowl commercials starring Will Ferrell, Norway is a potential model for implementing policy incentives that other countries might choose to follow to increase the adoption of electric vehicles.

  • Norway has the highest rate of EV adoption as a percentage of the auto market, with at least 54% of new cars sold being EVs.

The big picture: In a wide-ranging virtual interview with Axios on Thursday, Solberg said government policies have long treated cars as luxury items subject to certain taxes. But even before EVs were widely available, policymakers decided to provide subsidies by making them tax-exempt.

  • "It's of course huge incentives when you both take away value-added tax and the special car taxation, and you give them free entry on toll roads, which we have especially in the cities," Solberg said.
  • "What happened was that especially ... a family's number two car became electrical quite early because that would used to be used for going to work in a city and not for long-distance driving."

Catch up fast: Solbert said over the past five or six years, the country saw "basically a Tesla revolution in the beginning, because they were the first one with real cars, as some of my male friends would say — real cars, not just the small ones."

  • "When they came into the market, you suddenly could get a good, nice looking car with a longer range, which was a symbol, you know, a status symbol. And because of the tax exceptions we had, it became much cheaper than buying a comparable fossil fuel car," she said.
  • Solberg also touted the renewable power sources in Norway, mainly stemming from hydroelectric facilities, that make EVs cleaner there than other countries that generate more electricity from coal or gas-fired power plants.

The intrigue: As for those Super Bowl commercials, Solberg said Norwegians thought they were funny, and noted that it was a huge opportunity for publicity in the U.S.

  • "We know that the Super Bowl commercial is probably the time you meet the most Americans," she said.

Solberg, who has led Norway since 2013, also discussed how to strike a balance between the country's extensive fossil-fuel production activities and its ambitious climate targets.

  • On Thursday, for example, Norway announced it was joining a multinational initiative that will work with the private sector to reduce deforestation in tropical countries.
  • But Solberg said there are reasons to be wary of using such initiatives as carbon offsets, and that Norway has not been registering them as such. It has, however, been monitoring its projects using satellites, she said.
  • She noted that Norway had been supporting efforts to reduce rainforest destruction in Brazil, but stopped in 2019 in light of evidence that deforestation has increased there.

Between the lines: When it comes to U.S. credibility to lead on the climate issue, Solberg said she tries to look at the U.S. as a whole, rather than just Washington.

  • "I think for us it's extremely important to separate the U.S. from any administration," Solberg said. "Because what we really have seen is that the emissions went down even though the president was not in favor of the Paris agreement."
  • "We have always seen, especially, the innovative force in the U.S. as strong for implementing both new policies, but also new technologies."

Go deeper

Apr 22, 2021 - World

Norwegian PM acknowledges malleability to U.S. commitments

Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg meets with President Trump in Jan. 2018. Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg acknowledged Thursday the precedent-shattering Trump administration fueled a belief that agreements or promises made by one U.S. president now come with a four-year expiration date.

Why it matters: "We are not naive," Solberg said in response to a question from Axios. The view is particularly important as climate change opens the Arctic to exploration, exploitation and militarization by the Russians, and they chafe at NATO defense exercises in Norway and elsewhere on their doorstep.

All the new emissions targets announced at Biden’s climate summit

President Biden during the virtual Leaders Summit on Climate on April 22. Photo: Al Drago/Pool/Getty Images

Multiple world leaders announced new targets for reducing greenhouse gases during President Biden's virtual climate summit, which featured more than 40 heads of state and other world and business leaders.

Why it matters: The goal of the summit is to spur more ambitious emissions reductions through non-binding commitments, bringing the world in line with the global warming goals of the Paris Climate Agreement.

Biden pledges to cut greenhouse gas emissions by up to 52% by 2030

U.S. President Joe Biden seen in the Oval Office on April 15. (Photo by Doug Mills-Pool/Getty Images)

The Biden administration is moving to address global warming by setting a new, economy-wide greenhouse gas emissions reduction target of 50% to 52% below 2005 levels by 2030.

Why it matters: The new, non-binding target is about twice as ambitious as the previous U.S. target of a 26% to 28% cut by 2025, which was set during the Obama administration. White House officials described the goal as ambitious but achievable during a call with reporters Tuesday night.