Both Nordland, and especially Finnmark, have a far higher greenhouse gas emissions than the national average. Troms is at the same level or below the national average.

If we look at Norway as a whole, CO2 emissions have decreased gradually in the period 2011-2019. The development among the counties in northern Norway is not as clear.

Emissions in Nordland decreased in the first years, but have since picked up again and were in 2019 at about the same level as in 2011. In Finnmark, emissions have decreased from 2016, and in 2019 were ten percent below the level in 2011. Troms has increased its emissions from 2011, but then from a low level. Developments in northern Norway thus do not unequivocally support Norway's commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 55 per cent compared with the 1990 level.

The industry accounts for the largest share of emissions in the three northernmost counties. In Finnmark, industry accounts for more than 60 per cent of the total emissions, and where a large proportion is related to the petroleum activities in Hammerfest. It also means that Hammerfest tops the list of municipalities with the highest emissions per inhabitant in northern Norway.

In Nordland, more than half of the total CO2 emissions in 2019 came from industry, where much of the emissions are related to the power-intensive industry in the county. Sørfold municipality had the highest emissions per inhabitant, where Elkem Salten is also located. Similarly, Senja is the municipality in Troms with the highest CO2 emissions, where we also find the Finnfjord smelter.

During the same period, CO emissions related to road traffic have decreased, which is related to more electric cars on the roads. If we look at the emissions per area, they are far higher in Nordland than in Troms and especially Finnmark, which may be related to the fact that settlement in Nordland is somewhat more dispersed than in Troms and Finnmark, a different business structure and that the county has a lot of transit traffic.