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Monday, December 4, 2023

Campaigners flay Norway’s new oil and gas expansion plans

Civil society groups have condemned the Norwegian government’s approval of 19 new oil and gas projects coming at a time when climate impacts are making headlines globally.

A Norwegian petroleum installation

According to scientists, any new fossil fuel production and expansion will shatter the 1.5C temperature threshold.

Norway, one of the richest countries in the world, recently boasted a quarterly profit of $84 billion on its trillion-dollar sovereign wealth fund.

The development has attracted comments from leading climate campaigners.

Tasneem Essop, Executive Director, Climate Action Network, said: “Norway’s reprehensible plan to open new oil and gas projects, amounting to nearly $19 billion, exposes the deep-seated carbon colonialism entrenched in the climate crisis. As small island developing states grapple with the existential threat of sea-level rise and millions live through a prolonged drought in East Africa, it is disgustingly hypocritical for one of the richest nations, which amassed its wealth from burning fossil fuels and contributed to the climate crisis, to squander the last remains of the carbon budget shutting down opportunities for developing countries to have their fair share of the carbon budget.

“Norway must cease all new fossil fuel production, immediately initiate plans for a rapid phase out of fossil fuels and pay up towards the trillions required for climate damages. Norway must be held accountable.”

Nnimmo Bassey, Steering Committee Member, OilWatch Africa, said: “At a time when oil is known to be a deadly commodity for communities, and despite years of objection by fishers in Lofoten and other areas, Norway is approving 19 new oil and gas fields. Coming at a time when Norway should be a climate leader by shutting down fossil fuels exploitation and turning fully to renewables, this investment may swell the Norwegian government’s treasury but the truth is that it will pile further burdens on vulnerable communities elsewhere, including in Africa. This is a toxic investment and shows a lack of recognition and disdain for intergenerational responsibility.“

Bobby Peek, Groundwork, South Africa, said: “In the year of the Petro-CoP, false promises by northern governments are going to be exposed.  How do those who have polluted the most and taken up an unfair share of carbon space, expect the global South to stop fossil fuels while they expand and delay immediate and deep cuts in their fossil fuel addiction? We also stand in solidarity with our Norwegian environmental justice movement who are fighting against this.”

Frode Pleym, Head of Greenpeace, Norway, said: “The Norwegian government is hellbent on opening new oil fields that will produce fossil fuels decades into the future. It is blatantly disregarding the climate, the science, and even our own Supreme Court in its effort to please the oil industry. We are committed to stopping it by holding the government accountable to its own laws.”

Svitlana Romanko, Director, Razom We Stand, said: “The desperate and shameless act of climate destruction from Norway, one of richest petrostates, comes at the time when the world is literally on fire. It pushes us full speed deeper into the climate crisis using the guise of energy security. There is no security in fossil fuels. Russia’s war in Ukraine has shown that real energy security comes from shifting out of fossil fuels to sustainable renewable energy sources. Norway should follow its Eastern European neighbors like Romania and Ukraine who are prioritizing a clean energy transition. Norway has more resources than any other country to save the world, not to destroy it.“

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