The Norwegians want to be a “green champion”, but they are the largest exporter of oil and gas in Western Europe. And this is what they owe their wealth to. They themselves rely on wind and water. And Norwegian oil is burned abroad.
From an early age, Norwegians were brought up in love with nature and considered themselves its friends and protectors. On the other hand, prosperity in Norway is largely due to the fact that oil and gas are extracted there. So let’s ask how the two things come together: is it possible to both protect the climate and extract oil?
The largest exporter
“When it comes to climate, we must not forget that Norway is the largest exporter of oil and gas in Western Europe,” said Steiner Winter Christiansen of Norway’s “Climate Organization of Grandparents”.
“My generation created this Norwegian prosperity through oil and natural gas. But we have a responsibility and on behalf of our children and grandchildren we must say: That’s enough!” Said the 75-year-old Norwegian. According to his organization, the Norwegian government should stop issuing new licenses for oil and gas drilling. He is adamant that the extraction of these raw materials has been good for improving the country’s prosperity, but not for the climate.
To get an idea of Norway’s wealth, it is enough to take a look at the largest state fund in the world – the Norwegian “Pension Fund Abroad”, whose assets amount to nearly 1.2 trillion euros. In the first half of 2021 alone, it achieved a return of almost 10 percent. The fund invests in thousands of companies around the world, but its biggest income comes from the oil business. That’s why they call it the “Oil Fund”.
On the roads – full of electric cars
And to get an idea of how much interest Norwegians have in sustainable solutions, it is enough to stand on any road in Oslo and close our eyes. We will find that although the traffic is no less congested than in any other major European city, the traffic noise is significantly lower. Simply because Norwegians are world champions in the use of electric cars. And judging by the results of the September 13 elections, Norwegians will continue to demand that their future governments do more to protect the climate.
Still, the paradox remains with the dichotomy between the wealth due to oil and the climate consciousness of Norwegians. “We want to be a ‘green’ champion, but we’re just that when it comes to electric cars,” said Greenpeace Norway manager Frode Plame. He added that no Norwegian government has so far shown the courage to raise the issue of oil production, and wondered if the next one would have the courage.
Social Democrat leader and likely next prime minister, Jonas Gar Store, meanwhile, said Norway would face major challenges this decade. “We will also have to make some very difficult decisions,” he said of ongoing talks to form a ruling coalition.
Norwegian oil is burned abroad
Combustion of fossil fuels such as oil releases climate-damaging carbon dioxide. However, as Norwegian oil is burned abroad, greenhouse gas emissions are credited to the respective countries importing raw materials from Norway. Norway itself covers its energy needs exclusively from renewable sources – such as water and wind.
That is why, for Store, oil remains, at first, a source of income that should not dry up quickly. He has repeatedly said that the oil and gas industries should develop, not close. With no deadline, he has not committed to it, especially since other supplier countries such as Russia, the United States or Qatar will immediately cover global demand if Norway decides to withdraw from the market.
Environmentalist Plaim emphasizes in this regard that a rapid transition will mean benefits for the country. “The longer we delay resolving this issue, the greater the risk to the economy,” he said. With decisive action on the oil industry, Norway can become the green champion it wants to be, while sending an important signal to other oil-producing countries, he said.