Why President Biden could cap the Keystone XL pipeline project?

After US President-elect Joe Biden takes office on Wednesday, one of the first actions the Democrat might take is cancelling the permit for the $9 billion Keystone XL pipeline project, a Canadian Broadcasting Corp (CBC) report said.

The controversial XL pipeline, if built, will become part of a larger pipeline network that is already in existence. This functioning network, which is also called Keystone, connects oil sands in Canada’s Alberta province to refineries in the US states of Illinois and Texas

What is the Keystone XL proposal?

Keystone XL is the proposed fourth phase of the Keystone Pipeline network between Canada and the US, which aims to cut short the distance between Alberta’s oil sands and the Texas Gulf Coast, where most of North America’s refineries are situated.

The first three phases of Keystone are complete, and are currently carrying 5.5 lakh barrels of oil every day to the US from Canada via a longer route.

The planned 1,897 km XL pipeline’s more direct route, as well as larger diameter, would boost the oil supply from Canada, potentially carrying 8.3 lakh barrels of oil per day. It would be privately financed, with costs of building shared by Canada-based TC Energy and other oil companies. The XL pipeline would carry both Canadian and American oil to refineries in Texas, from where it can be exported.

So, why build a shorter route?

A key reason is that the oil sands in Canada are landlocked, and a direct connection to international markets through the Texas refineries and ports would mean that they can be further developed. This would benefit the energy industry in both Canada and the US.

Another important reason stated is that if North America increases its own supply of oil, it can further reduce its reliance on imports from the Middle East, thus providing fuel at lower prices for domestic consumers. President Donald Trump has claimed that 28,000 jobs would be created for the pipeline’s construction.

Then, why is there opposition to the project?

There are a number of groups that have a problem with the XL proposal.

Environmentalists claim that building the pipeline would signify a commitment to developing the Alberta oil sands, where oil production is set to double by 2030. They argue that if the pipeline is built, it would increase North America’s reliance on fossil fuel. This would not only take away the focus from developing renewable sources, but also end up exacerbating climate change.

There are complaints about the carbon footprint of extracting Canadian oil, too. The fuel extracted from Alberta’s oil sands is bitumen, an inferior quality of petroleum. Its extraction process is more akin to mining than conventional oil drilling, and generates 15 per cent more greenhouse emissions compared to the production of one average barrel of oil used in the US, as per The Washington Post.

There is also opposition in the US state of Nebraska, where leaks from the pipeline could threaten the Ogallala Aquifer, among the world’s largest fresh water reserves which provides drinking water to 20 lakh people in eight US states. Experts say the Canadian bitumen could be especially harmful to the waterway, because unlike conventional crude, which floats on top of water in case of a spill, some of bitumen’s heavy elements settle to the ground, rendering conventional cleanup technologies redundant.

Native American groups have also opposed the project, saying the pipeline construction would affect water supplies upstream of many of their reservations.

And, how did this issue play out politically?

Because the proposed pipeline crosses the international border, it requires the approval of both national governments. Although Canada approved the XL project in 2010, former US President Barack Obama, a Democrat, axed it in 2015, saying it would increase greenhouse emissions, and that Canada would reap most of the project’s benefits.

Then in 2017, Republican President Trump, who openly questions the veracity of climate change, reversed Obama’s decision soon after taking office, allowing the pipeline to move forward.

According to a Reuters report, the XL pipeline’s construction is currently underway in Canada, and the border crossing with the US is complete. In all of the US states that the pipeline passes through, construction is taking place on pump stations, the report said.

Now, as the White House again returns to Democratic hands, the project could again get in jeopardy. In the past, Biden has already declared that he would cancel the XL pipeline’s permit if elected.

What is Michigan state’s Flint water crisis?

On Thursday, nine former officials who served the state of Michigan in the US, including the state’s former governor Rick Snyder, were charged in connection with a criminal investigation into the Flint water crisis.

Michigan’s Solicitor General Fadwa Hammoud and Wayne County Prosecutor Kym L Worth announced that after 12 months of jury proceedings, the nine officials were indicted on a total of 42 counts “related to a series of alleged actions and inactions that created the historic injustice of the Flint Water Crisis”.

“We must remember that the Flint Water Crisis is not some relic of the past. At this very moment, the people of Flint continue to suffer from the categorical failure of public officials at all levels of government, who trampled upon their trust, and evaded accountability for far too long,” Hammoud was quoted as saying in a statement

Former governor Snyder was charged with two counts of willful neglect of duty. “As Governor of the State of Michigan, a public officer did willfully neglect his mandatory legal duty to protect citizens of this state against disaster and/or emergency,” his indictment mentions.

Snyder, who is a Republican became Michigan’s 48th governor and was sworn in on January 1, 2011. He remained in this position until 2018.

What was the Flint Water Crisis?

The Flint water crisis is an ongoing public health crisis that began in 2014 when the City of Flint in Michigan–which has a population of roughly 100,000–changed its water supply from Lake Huron to the Flint river. This switch caused the water distribution pipes to corrode, as a result of which lead and other contaminants were leached into the municipal drinking water.

This led to an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease, a serious type of pneumonia caused by the Legionella bacteria and other health complications in thousands of its residents. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), people can get sick from this if they breathe in mist or accidentally swallow bacteria-containing water into the lungs.

While the water supply was switched back in 2015, the damage was long-lasting and many residents of the city continued to suffer.

In January 2016, the state of Michigan declared a state of emergency and in October the same year, residents of the city were advised not to drink the municipal tap water unless it was filtered.

As per an article published in the American Water Works Association (AWWA) in 2016, which described the water crisis, a few weeks after the water source was switched despite warnings and concerns from some officials, residents started complaining about the colour, taste and odor of their drinking water. In May 2014, some residents informed officials that the water was causing rashes, especially in children.

As per a Community Assessment for Public Health Emergency Response (CASPER) conducted by the CDC in May 2016, over 66 percent of the households in the city reported one or more adult members experiencing at least one behavioural health issue “more than usual” and 54 percent of the households reported that at least one child experienced at least one behavioural health issue.

But why was the water source changed?

The AWWA article notes that in order to reduce costs for treated water Flint officials decided to join the newly formed Karegnondi Water Authority (KWA) in 2013, which was constructing a pipeline to transmit water from Lake Huron.

In the meantime, the city of Flint had the option to either purchase treated water from the Detroit Water and Sewage Department (DWSD), which was sourced from Lake Huron or treat water from the Flint river on its own.

After officials failed to strike a short-term agreement with DWSD, Flint officials decided to use water from the Flint river and treat it at the Flint Water Service Center (FWSC). But the water wasn’t treated properly at the FWSC, resulting in lead contamination.

The article also notes that while the Flint river water is difficult to treat, “oversights and missteps” combined with “inherent chemical conditions” set the stage for the water crisis.

A report published in 2017 by the Michigan Civil Rights Commission said that race and racism played a role in causing the water crisis even though both black and white residents were victims. The report is based on the testimony of over 150 residents, community leaders, experts, academics and government officials

We are not suggesting that those making decisions related to this crisis were racists, or meant to treat Flint any differently because it is a community primarily made up by people of color. Rather, the disparate response is the result of systemic racism that was built into the foundation and growth of Flint, its industry and the suburban area surrounding it,” the report said.

”The crisis has been the subject of a film and a documentary film. A 2017 TV film called Flint directed by Bruce Beresford starring Queen Latifah featured her as a woman dealing with the effects that the contaminated water had on her and her family. A documentary on the subject, also titled “Flint”, was released in 2020 and is based on half a decade of research into the crisis and the failure of officials to respond to it.

Why WhatsApp is giving users more time to accept its privacy policy

Accepting that it had led to “confusion” and spawned a lot of “misinformation”, messaging service WhatsApp Saturday announced it will be delaying the implementation of its new privacy policy until May 15. This, the Facebook product hopes, will give users more time to “review the policy at their own pace”.

Why has WhatsApp delayed the implementation of the new privacy policy?

Ever since it announced the new policy in early January, there was confusion over whether this means parent company Facebook, which has been facing some trust deficit globally, will get to access user messages. As this confusion, partly caused by a hard-to-understand privacy policy which chose to not spell out how the changes will play out on ground, gained ground, millions of users across the world chose to look at options, even as WhatsApp gave users the option to accept or leave the service

What happens now?

Nothing really changes in the privacy policy, which WhatsApp later clarified does not change anything when it comes to personal messaging and only impacts some new messaging with businesses. However, now users have till May 15 to read through, internalise and accept the new policy and its changes. Earlier, the deadline was February 8, which had added to the panic among users and fears that something drastic is on the anvil.

WhatsApp has also reiterated in the new post that users have nothing to be worried about. “WhatsApp was built on a simple idea: what you share with your friends and family stays between you. This means we will always protect your personal conversations with end-to-end encryption, so that neither WhatsApp nor Facebook can see these private messages. Which is why we don’t keep logs of who everyone’s messaging or calling. We also can’t see your shared location and we don’t share your contacts with Facebook,” it says.

Will this help WhatsApp end the exodus of users?

To a certain extent, yes. But the damage has been done. What the new privacy policy has done is remind users about the linkages between Facebook and WhatsApp, which many would not have taken seriously so far. With Facebook’s not-so-great record in privacy, users seem to be rethinking if they want to be messaging everybody from their parents to bosses via a service owned by the social network.

Both Signal and Telegram have benefited from this exodus, so much so that both services seem to be struggling to handle the influx of new users — Signal services were disrupted on Friday. What could come to WhatsApp’s advantage in the long run is the network effect, which will gradually sink in as users realise that those who they want to chat with have not moved along with them to the same alternative option. And this could be what WhatsApp might be hoping from with the delayed adoption of the privacy policy.

Republic Day: No foreign head of state as chief guest, first in 55 years

Due to the prevailing Covid-19 situation, the Centre has decided against having any foreign head of state or government as the chief guest for this year’s Republic Day event on January 26, news agency PTI reported. This is the first time in 55 years that India is not going to have any chief guest for the Republic Day parade.

Addressing a press conference on Thursday, Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said, “Due to the global Covid-19 situation, it has been decided that this year there will not be any foreign head of state or government as the chief guest for our Republic Day event.”

The central government was thinking on these lines after British Prime Minister Boris Johnson had called up Prime Minister Narendra Modi and expressed “regret” that he would not be able to be chief guest for the Republic Day celebrations. Johnson took this decision in view of the fresh national lockdown in the UK due to the new, more contagious mutant strain of the novel coronavirus.

The last time India did not send an invitation to any head of state was in 1966 due to the untimely demise of then Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri. The new government headed by Indira Gandhi was sworn in on January 24, 1966 – only two days ahead of the Republic Day parade.

The Republic Day celebrations have been truncated this year on account of the pandemic. Last year’s Independence Day celebrations had also been scaled down.

An invitation to be chief guest at India’s Republic Day is a special honour for the visiting foreign dignitary. New Delhi has been weaving strategy with hospitality while deciding on the chief guest. The choice is dictated by a number of factors — strategic and diplomatic, business interests, and geo-politics.

Trump has been impeached a second time. What happens next?

The House of Representatives on Wednesday made Donald Trump the first US president to be impeached twice, formally charging him with incitement an insurrection just a week after a violent mob of his supporters stormed the Capitol. Here’s a guide to what happens next:

Is the impeachment proceeding over?

No. Impeachment refers only to the House, the lower chamber of Congress, bringing charges, or Articles of Impeachment. The next major step is for the Senate, the upper chamber, to have a trial to determine Trump’s guilt. A two-thirds majority is needed to convict Trump. If all 100 senators are present for the vote, at least 17 Republicans need to join the Democrats to convict Trump

When will the trial begin?

The Senate’s Republican majority leader, Mitch McConnell, has rejected Democratic calls for an immediate impeachment trial and said it cannot begin until after the Senate returns from a recess on Jan. 19. That means the trial will likely begin after Trump leaves office on Jan. 20.

The House must formally transmit the charge against Trump to the Senate before the trial can begin.

What is Trump’s likely defense in the Senate trial?

The House approved a single article of impeachment — a formal charge — accusing Trump of “incitement of insurrection,” focused on a speech he delivered to thousands of supporters shortly before the pro-Trump mob rampaged through the Capitol. Trump is likely to argue at trial that his remarks were free speech protected by the Constitution’s First Amendment and that, while he told supporters to “fight,” he did not intend it as a literal call to violence.

Trump released a videotaped statement on Wednesday, shortly after the impeachment vote, saying he condemned last week’s violence. “Violence and vandalism have absolutely no place in our country and no place in our movement,” Trump said.

So a former president can be impeached?

Yes. The consensus among scholars is that a “late impeachment” is constitutional. These scholars note that impeachment is used not just to remove officials from office, but also to disqualify them from future office. That means there is still a reason to try Trump after he leaves the White House.

The Constitution states that one punishment for conviction is “disqualification to hold and enjoy any office of honor, trust or profit under the United States.”

Under Senate precedent, only a simple majority of the Senate is needed for disqualification. Historically, that vote only happens after a conviction. It’s not clear if someone must be convicted to be disqualified.

How long will the trial last?

The US Supreme Court has said the Senate has wide latitude to set its own rules for how to conduct an impeachment. But under the current rules in effect, a trial would take at least a few days.

Social protection : Challenges and Solution

There are hundreds of social security schemes in India, from housing to food, from maternity benefit and child welfare to old age support. Many of them are funded at very low level that limits their effectiveness. While their performance vary across the states it is broadly believe many of these schemes are infected with problems that limit their impact.

Problems with Social Security Schemes.

First, there is a problem of eligibility. Often one should not be getting a benefit gets it (inclusion error) while who should be getting did not get (exclusion error)

Second, there is a problems of leakage, wastage, corruption in the delievey process.

third, even if the implement process is faultless that is free from above given problems it would consume a lot administrative resources and manpower for other duties to be performed by the administration.

Fourth, some of the schemes involve subsidies which distort the allocation of resource. For example subsidies for water and electricity arguably causes environmental damage ( falling of underground water tables, power blackout). Moreover they benefit relative better off people than they benefit poor since poor consume less of the relevant good and services. For example power subsidies benefit those who have electricity connection and among those who consume very high electricity.

Steps to improve the social security schemes.

Reduce the number of schemes drastically to a manageable number, all of which are aimed at most important risk. However removing any schemes no matter how inefficientive it is will hurt some vulnerable groups so there should be a proper plan for compensation for people while caring out social reform .

The should focus on ensuring that citizen choice is at the center of social protection schemes. For example families should be given an option whether they want food ration or cash or direct benefit transfer.

In general, thrust should be given on moving to uniform and universal transfer as much as possible. Cash transfer reduces administrative cost, corruption and other various distortion which there in case of in kind transfer.

Any new basic income schemes whether targeted at a specific group like farmer or more generally to poor people must provide sufficient income and the entitlement should be linked to inflation so that it goes up as price increases.


Social protection should improve from current state and it increase huge administrative cost, facilitate huge corruption and have not significantly improve the standard of living of poor and vulnerable society. It is important because huge percentage of Indian depend upon some sort of social protection schemes.

What is the new single-window clearance for coal, and how will it help?

The Union government on Monday (January 11) announced a new online single window clearance portal for the coal sector to speed up the operationalisation of coal mines. The announcement was made alongside the signing ceremony for the first tranche of coal blocks to be auctioned for commercial use.

What is a single-window clearance portal?

A single window clearance portal is aimed at allowing successful bidders for coal blocks to be able to obtain all required clearances, including environmental and forest clearances, from a single portal with progress monitoring, instead of having to go to multiple authorities.

The portal should allow successful bidders to operationalise coal mines more quickly.

“Presently, about 19 major approvals, or clearances are required before starting the coal mine in the country. In the absence of unified platform for grant of clearances companies were required to approach different departments, leading to delay in operationalization of the coal mines,” Coal Minister Pralhad Joshi said, adding that the portal would be operationalised in a phased manner.

How will this help?

Industry sources said that the sector has long sought a single window clearance system to help with quicker operationalisation, as obtaining the requisite clearances was taking over 2-3 years for successful bidders in many cases.

“It is definitely a good move as coal blocks which were auctioned off in earlier tranches used to take more than a 2-3 year period to get operationalised,” said an expert.

The expert added that some coal blocks auctioned as far back as 2015 has still not been operationalised due to delays in obtaining required clearances.

The expert noted that the Parivesh mechanism for forest and environment related clearances would likely be merged into the single window clearance mechanism which is expected to help with the operationalization of the coals blocks that are set to be auctioned in the upcoming auctions.

Broken Bruised But not dead ?

The third test between India and Australia in Sydney ended up in draw. On any other day this result would be nothing but disappointment but on 11 January 2021 fifth day of third test, India was chasing a mammoth target of 407 runs and have lost two very important wicket previous day for just 98 which means implies that either India bats remaining 97 overs or chase remaining runs. On the other hand, Australia needed just 8 wicket to win the match and take a decisive lead of 2-1. To make situation worse India’s star allrounder Ravindra Jadeja has dislocated his thumb and couldn’t bat. Given the circumstance defeat was inevitable but not for this India team which batted resolutely, aggressively and patiently to deny Australia a comfortable win.

How steep was the degree of difficulty?

India came to this test match with one experience bowler Jasprit Bumrah. Ishant Sharma injured himself during IPL, Mohammad Shami fractured him left arm while batting during 1st test match, Virat Kohli took parental leave and Umesh Yadav hurt his calf muscles during 2nd test match. India’s had Mohammad Siraj playing his 2nd test match and Navdeep Saini making his debut in this match. They lost the toss and had to bowl a big disadvantage in this ground, the racist slurs hurl at them and top of it Ravindra Jadeja was injured during the match.

How Day 5 pan out ?

  • India: 100 runs in 35.2 overs (213 balls), Extras 2
  • India: 150 runs in 52.3 overs (318 balls), Extras 4
  • 4th Wicket: 50 runs in 103 balls (Pujara 13, Pant 35, Ex 2)
  • Drinks: India – 152/3 in 53.0 overs (Pujara 26, Pant 35)
  • RR Pant: 50 off 64 balls (4 x 4, 3 x 6)
  • India: 200 runs in 67.6 overs (412 balls), Extras 5
  • 4th Wicket: 100 runs in 197 balls (Pujara 24, Pant 73, Ex 3)
  • Lunch: India – 206/3 in 70.0 overs (Pujara 41, Pant 73)
  • CA Pujara: 50 off 170 balls (7 x 4)
  • India: 250 runs in 78.1 overs (473 balls), Extras 8
  • New ball taken after 80th over
  • Drinks: India – 262/4 in 84.0 overs (Pujara 70, Vihari 0)
  • Over 91.4: Review by Australia (Bowling), Umpire – Reiffel, Batsman – Ashwin (Struck down)
  • Tea: India – 280/5 in 96.0 overs (GH Vihari 4, R Ashwin 7)
  • Final – 334-5 in 131.0 overs (GH Vihari 23 (164), R Ashwin 39 (128)

Following the draw series remain tied at 1-1 after 3 match the last match of the border gavaskar trophy is to be played at Brisbane from 15 -19 January 2021.

What is Parler social network that Apple, Amazon and Google have suspended?

Apple, Amazon and Google have suspended the social network called parler saying that the platform has not taken enough measures to make sure that content inciting violence remains in check.

What is Parler?
It is a social media platform that is considered to be an alternative to Twitter and is popular with conservatives. The platform describes itself as being the world’s “premier free speech platform”. “Speak freely and express yourself openly, without fear of being “deplatformed” for your views,” the website of the platform says.

Why was it suspended?
The move has come following the events of January 6 when an armed mob of Trump supporters stormed Capitol Hill and clashed with the police as Congress convened to validate Joe Biden’s presidential win.

The platform is favoured by right-leaning users and as per media reports was actively used by supporters of US President Donald Trump, including several of those who participated in the Capitol Hill siege.

In a letter addressed to the developers of the Parler app by Apple, which was published by The New York Times, the company said that the measures taken by Parler were inadequate “to address the proliferation of dangerous and objectionable content on your app”.

“Parler has not upheld its commitment to moderate and remove harmful or dangerous content encouraging violence and illegal activity, and is not in compliance with the App Store Review Guidelines,” it said in the letter.

Amazon too has given similar reasons for banning the platform and maintains that the “violent content” on the website violates their terms of service.

The suspension means that users can no longer download the app from the Apple app store or the Google play store. Amazon, on the other hand, has suspended the platform from its web-hosting service called Amazon Web Services

A web hosting service is a mechanism through which companies provide space to websites on a physical server where they can store data and other information necessary for their websites to function. Since Parler was not able to find an alternative hosting service, it effectively went offline at 11:59 am PST on Sunday and will not be back up until it is able to find a new hosting service provider.

What does the suspension mean?

Following the siege, Trump’s Twitter and Facebook accounts were suspended by the two tech giants, a move which some of his critics have lauded. On Friday, Twitter wrote in a blog post “After close review of recent Tweets from the @realDonaldTrump account and the context around them — specifically how they are being received and interpreted on and off Twitter — we have permanently suspended the account due to the risk of further incitement of violence.

“In the context of horrific events this week, we made it clear on Wednesday that additional violations of the Twitter Rules would potentially result in this very course of action. Our public interest framework exists to enable the public to hear from elected officials and world leaders directly. It is built on a principle that the people have a right to hold power to account in the open,” it added.

Twitter said that two tweets made by Trump on January 8 violated their “Glorification of Violence” policy, as a result of which his account was permanently suspended from the platform.

Even so, these moves taken by the tech giants in the last one week have reignited the debate on the power that tech companies have in censoring content. A report in The Financial Times said that while Trump’s critics have applauded his “deplatforming”, “which many say were long overdue. But others worry that the moves demonstrate how much political power has been built up by a handful of private companies.”

This, however, is not the first time that platforms have taken such an action. In October last year, YouTube announced that it would be taking additional measures to block content related to QAnon, a pro-Donald Trump conspiracy theory or movement. In July 2020, Twitter and TikTok blocked some hashtags and removed some accounts related to it and in August Facebook announced a ban on QAnon groups. Social networking website Reddit also banned one of its largest pro-Trump subreddits (a community forum), citing a violation in its updated policy on hate speech in July last year.

In 2019, the FBI said that fringe political conspiracy theories including QAnon are a domestic threat and likely to “motivate some domestic extremists, wholly or in part, to engage in criminal or violent activity.”

How Electric Vehicles dominate Norway’s Car Market.

In 2020, Norway further cemented its position as a world leader in renewable technologies, as battery electric vehicles (BEVs) made up more than half of all vehicles sold in the country during the year.

Last year, the market share of BEVs rose to 54 per cent, up from 42 per cent in 2019, as per data released by the Norwegian Road Foundation (OFV). Only a decade ago, BEVs made up just 1 per cent of the overall market.

If hybrid vehicles are included, the share of electric vehicles in 2020 is 83 per cent. Petrol and diesel cars, which commanded a 71 per cent market share in 2015, are now at 17 per cent

Also last year, Germany’s Volkswagen replaced US-based Tesla as the largest electric vehicle producer in the country.

How Norway became a electric vehicles pioneer

Norway, which is the biggest producer of crude oil in Western Europe, has in the recent past made a shift from fossil fuels to renewable energy. A country roughly the size of Maharashtra in terms of area, it began the electric push in the 1990s in an effort to cut pollution, congestion, and noise in urban centres.

In 2017, Norway’s parliament set a non-binding goal to ensure that all cars sold should be zero emissions by 2025. The UK and Germany plan to do this by 2030, and France by 2040. In India, the government has set a target of 30 per cent vehicles becoming EV by 2030.

To achieve its target, Norway has been giving tax incentives for fully electric vehicles, which make them cheaper to buy compared to similar internal combustion (IC) engine models. Norway also taxes IC engine cars more heavily than most European countries.

The government lets electric cars run on bus lanes, while toll roads are free for them. Parking lots offer a free charge, and new charging stations are continuously being built on the nation’s highways — a mix of regular charging stations and fast-chargers. At the moment, Norway has 10,000 publicly available charging points.

Currently, Norway has the highest per capita all-electric (battery only) cars in the world – over 1,00,000 in a country of just over five million people. The country does not manufacture cars (with the exception of a Norwegian city electric car called Buddy produced by a homegrown firm Buddy Electric) and pretty much all of its vehicle fleet is imported.

The country’s policies have also encouraged carmakers to use Norway as a testing ground. As per the CNN report, Volkswagen’s luxury brand Audi was the market leader in 2020, selling 9,227 units of its e-tron model, followed by Tesla’s Model 3, which sold 7,77o units. Volkswagen’s ID.3 came third at 7,754.

Among fossil fuel-driven cars too, Norway has encouraged petrol cars over diesel ones. To do this, some of the country’s regions began charging higher road tolls for diesel cars than for petrol vehicles. Because of such policies, the share of diesel vehicles fell from 75.7 per cent in 2011 to 8.6 per cent in 2020.

As per a Reuters report, although BEVs had in the past crossed the 50 per cent mark in market share in individual months, 2020 was a special achievement since these cars crossed the combined share of models with IC engines for a year as a whole.

Now, alongside its advances in electric vehicles, Norway is also pushing for the next frontier — hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.

Experts, however, say Norway’s policies are difficult to replicate in other parts of the world, mainly because the country can offer generous subsidies thanks to its revenues from oil and gas production.

Thanks to its hydrocarbon wealth, Norway has been able to build the world’s largest sovereign wealth fund, currently valued at $1.3 trillion.