Climate change is currently one of the world’s biggest issues. Scientists claim that we have until 2030 to start reducing the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, otherwise, we will cause drastic, irreversible damage to the planet. Many countries are doing their part in helping to prevent climate change, some more than others. Norway, being one of these countries, is aiming to become the ones leading the fight against climate change. However, despite all of the efforts and goals, Norway’s economy relies heavily on one of the largest carbon-emitting industries, and it doesn’t seem like they are willing to cease its involvement any time soon.
How is Norway impacted by global climate change anyways?
The answer is far more complex than it would seem. The amount of rainfall that’s expected is increasing each year, which can lead to a plethora of problems. One such problem is the increase in floods. Floods have become frequent, and are usually caused by heavy rainfall and melting snow. Landslides have also started to become more recurrent, and there has even been one death related to a landslide. In addition, Norway has been affected by droughts, avalanches, and stronger storms in the past few years. The glaciers in Norway have started to retreat due to the higher temperatures and the decreased snowfall, and many species of animals, such as reindeers, seals, and salmon, face the threat of extinction.
So, what is Norway doing to combat the effects of climate change?
As mentioned before they have shown immense interest in becoming an international leader in regards to climate change. The Paris Agreement, which was established to ensure that countries around the globe work together in lowering carbon emissions, is one way they show Norway’s interest. Norway was one of the first countries to accept the agreement. Norway has also dedicated more than three billion dollars a year in order to reduce the impacts of deforestation in developing countries. Furthermore, Norway is set on reducing the amount of greenhouse gas emissions by 40% before 2030. Another goal Norway is hoping to achieve is linked with electric cars. Norway aims to only sell electric cars in 2025, as they are much more sustainable and use renewable energy. They are promoting the use of electric cars by abolishing the higher taxes that are enforced on them and installing charging stations that allow for free charges. Finally, roads with tolls are free for electric car drivers, and they are allowed access to bus lanes. Moreover, in Oslo, city planners have incorporated “green” designs into the city. The forest and water bodies around Oslo have been conserved and protected, and the city has eco-friendly transportation and even eco-friendly jobs. With that, the European Commission awarded Oslo as the European Green Capital in 2019.
On the other hand, Norway is struggling with a big decision concerning its economy. Most of Norway’s economy is funded by oil production. Previous to discovering oil, Norway was not nearly as wealthy as they are now. As you can see, comparing Norway’s “green” title to its massive oil industry is sort of an oxymoron. Although the country is slowly moving towards using more sustainable forms of energy itself, it is still providing other countries with large amounts of non-renewable energy. Surprisingly, the increasing temperature is actually benefiting Norway, since it is providing new routes for oil transport due to the melting ice. As well, Norway is trying to get its hands on the oil within the Arctic, which has caused great amounts of discourse. One of the biggest opposers of this movement is Greenpeace, Greenpeace is an environmental organization that campaigns on climate change and other environmental issues. Greenpeace Norway had sued the Norwegian government with the dispute that drilling oil in the Arctic would be contradictory to the Paris Agreement. Yet, Norway’s Supreme Court determined that the minimization of carbon emissions only applied to Norway, and did not include other countries. Hence, the Arctic oil drilling was authorized.
All in all, although Norway is one of the greenest and environmentally friendly countries, there is a lot of debate surrounding its role in the oil industry. Norway has established regulations to encourage its citizens to be more eco-friendly, but at the same time, it continues to contribute to one of the world’s largest carbon-emitting industries. Within the topic of climate change, ethics and economics often clash, as do emotions and logic. The question is, "Is it worth it benefitting right now but sacrificing the future for it?"