The directorate’s overriding goal of promoting sustainable development involves a recognition that today’s environmental problems require more integrated solutions. High-level consumption is perceived as being at the core of environmental threats. The directorate works with an understanding that extensive and profound changes will be necessary in order to reverse environmentally destructive trends, involving a greater emphasis on sustainable production and consumption. Priority is given to those areas recognized as constituting the gravest threats to such development – climate change, the effects of energy consumption, hazardous chemicals and environmental problems in built-up areas.
Hand-in-hand with these objectives goes an increasing emphasis on the importance of raising public awareness and improved public access to environmental information. SFT’s Internet-based public information system “State of the Environment Norway” (www.environment.no) addresses this in providing up-to-date environmental information. SFT has overall editorial responsibility for the service – launched in January 2003 – which covers nine main topics and provides answers to questions ranging from the size of Norway’s greenhouse gas emissions to the impact of hazardous substances on health and the environment. Norway has proven itself to be at the forefront – among the first countries in Europe to publish information covering both national and regional environmental conditions.