VG’s politics editor Hanne Skartveit writes that Norway should continue producing oil when there is still demand but at the same time, we must find other ways to make money as nobody will buy oil anymore in the future.
Skarveit points out the harsh division between the environmentalist and the supporter of oil production in Norway. She says it is easy to to label all those supporters of continued oil production in Norway as ignorant of climate, while those who want to slow down or stop Norwegian oil production are often portrayed as dreamers.
She notes that there is a broad consensus that the world is in the midst of a transition, where renewable energy will gradually replace fossil energy sources such as oil and gas. The question is how fast it is and what we can do to make it happen fast enough, asks Skartveik.
She mentiones two arguments for Norway to stop oil proudction: Norway has to lead an example in climate measures, and the demand for oil and gas is likely to decline over time.
Cannot leave the market to worst countries such as Russia and Saudi Arabia. Keep USA from Middle East
Yet she believes that it is a moralistic and unrealistic approach.
“If Norway stops producing oil, or reduces production before the demand goes down, we are in fact abandoning the market and power to worst countries like Saudi Arabia and Russia, writes she.
Her arguments is that it is important democratic countries such as Norway, Canada and the United States continue supply oil and gas to the rest of the world. The fact that the US is now self-sufficient in oil means that they are less dependent on the Middle East. This means that the United States can pursue a less oil-driven foreign policy. It’s good, both for Americans and for the world, notes she.
Challenge for Welfare System
Cutting off oil production earlier will hit Norwegian jobs, and it will weaken the welfare state, claims she.
At the same time, there is reason to believe that the demand for oil and gas – especially oil – will decline at some point. Norway is already working well to electrify transportation. Then we talk about the loss of a great need for fossil fuels, emphasizes she.
A common understanding and Norway’s biggest capital: Trust
She asks the question whether it is possible to build some kind of common understanding between the environmentalist and pro-oil groups about the further development of the industry for the Norwegian economy.
The crucial thing must be to base decisions about the future on facts. If everything indicates that opening fields in the Barents Sea is throwing money out the window because the world is not going to need the oil, then we should not. If we think it will pay off, the discussion will be another, says she.
She finishes her article by reminding that Norwegian history is just about building stone by stone, defying the weather and wind, seeing the opportunities that emerge. Then she adds:
“If we do this this time as well, and at the same time manage to preserve what is Norway’s largest capital, the trust, then things can go well. A good start is to see what we can agree on. Then we take it from there”.