: Norway’s ‘Climate Election’ Showed Voters Want Change. But Are They Ready to Give Up Oil? #WorldNEWS Norwegian voters delivered a clear result when they went to the polls Monday in what has been
Norway’s ‘Climate Election’ Showed Voters Want Change. But Are They Ready to Give Up Oil? #WorldNEWS
Norwegian voters delivered a clear result when they went to the polls Monday in what has been dubbed the “climate election. ” Prime Minister Erna Solberg’s right-wing coalition government will be out of power after eight years, and the climate crisis is firmly on the agenda.
Jonas Gahr Støre’s center-left Labor Party came away with 48 of 169 seats, meaning he will likely be leading the next government. Støre celebrated what he called voters’ desire for “change. But, its less clear exactly what form that change will take for western Europe’s largest oil and gas producer.
Støre now faces complex discussions with other left-leaning parties to form a coalition government. Climate policy is set to be a major point of contention between Labor’s preferred coalition partners. While the Socialist Left have campaigned to end further oil exploration, the more free-market Center Party wants to uphold the status quo.
Breaking up with oil and gas was always going to be difficult for the owner of the world’s largest sovereign wealth fund—valued at . 4 trillion. North Sea oil and gas, which accounts for 14% of Norway’s GDP, 40% of exports, and employs 7% of its workforce, has made the country one of the richest in the world, by GDP per capita.
Yet, Norwegians also pride themselves on being environmentally conscious. How they choose to deal with this contradiction—and balance the needs for economic recovery amid the COVID-19 pandemic—will offer clues about whether European voters are willing to make the hard choices on climate change.
“Oil and gas have always been the elephant in the room,” Fay Farstad, senior research fellow at CICERO Center for International Climate Research, a Norwegian climate research center, says. “This level of public debate on oil and gas in Norway is new in itself. ”
Climate policy: Not just for Greens anymore
The release on Aug. 9 of the 2021 U. N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report, which predicted “unprecedented” and “irreversible” changes to the planet as a result of human activity, forced Norwegian voters to confront the consequences of their multi-billion-dollar industry.
In the month leading up to the September election, climate dominated the agenda on televised debates and national news. Along with inequality, the climate crisis was one of the top two priorities for voters, according to a poll by Aftenposten, Norway’s largest print newspaper. Shortly after the publication of the IPCC report, the anti-oil Green Party experienced a membership increase of nearly one-third.
0 Reactions React