The incoming government of the centre-left in Norway has stated that it intends to expand Norway’s oil and gas industries while reducing carbon emissions.
Before taking office following last month’s general elections, the Labour Party-led coalition revealed its energy policy.
According to the government, it aims to reduce net emissions by 55% before 2030.
It said that the transition to green energy in Norway, which is western Europe’s biggest oil-and gas producer, would take place gradually.
In a Wednesday policy statement, the coalition stated that “The oil-and gas sector will not be dismantled”
The Conservative-led government in Norway, which ruled for eight years, will now be replaced by the minor coalition of Labour and Centre party parties.
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Transitioning away from fossil fuels and towards renewable energy – which forms the backbone of Norway’s economy – will be a major challenge for the new government.
Norway’s petroleum sector is responsible for approximately 40% of exports, and 14% (GDP) of the country’s gross domestic product.
The election campaign focused attention on Norway’s dependence on oil and natural gas. However, the new government stated that it must balance economic and social considerations with the climate change goals.
The policy paper of the coalition stated that climate policy should not be considered moralizing and that it must be fair.
Just weeks ahead of the crucial international summit on climate in Scotland, COP26, the government reiterated its support for oil and gas exploration.
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Summit is seen by governments as an opportunity to set higher targets for carbon emission reductions.
An important United Nations study concluded that humans had caused climate change by releasing fossil fuels in unprecedented ways.
To curb emissions, Norway’s government said it would honour a plan to raise the country’s carbon tax to 2,000 Norwegian kroner (£173; $230) per tonne.
However, Karoline Andaur from the Norwegian WWF stated that the measures were not sufficient and “horrifying” in light of oil and gas activity.
Norwegian Oil and Gas however, a lobby organization, stated to Reuters that the plan would ensure continued development and value-creation from oil and natural gas and also finance a transition.
Norway’s government has set a new emission target to bring it in line with that of the European Union. From 1990, the EU aims to cut net emissions 55% by 2030.
Norway, although it isn’t a member of EU, is close to the EU through its memberships in the European Economic Area and Schengen.