I was sitting in a doctor’s waiting room today and read the journal Apollon, which is published by the University of Oslo. There were two things I particularly noticed. The first was just a small note on a doctoral thesis which said that farmers in eastern Norway didn’t appreciate The Eidsvoll Men and independence from Denmark (In Norwegian history 1814 is called the miracle year. Eidsvoll is the place where the Norwegian constitution was written in 1814 and thus started the road towards independence). These farmers on the border to Sweden might have appreciated it in retrospect, but they were initially more interested maintaining status quo (which probably had a lot to do with their proximity to the enemy).
The second article is possibly on a similar topic, weak political commitment to renewable energy sources. Among the points in the article is that Norway is in a better position to produce electricity from renewable energy sources, such as hydro, wind, wave , biomass, tidal waves and underwater currents, than most other countries in Europe.
According to the article, the production of renewable energy hasn’t increased over the last 20 years. That’s partly due to the fact that new technologies have to compete against the established ones, which are often heavily subsidized. They also have the strongest support from influential milieus.
This could be a challenge for Jens Stoltenberg in opposition (he’s been our prime minister the past 8 years, but just lost the election). He has spent much energy trying to tell us that Norway is a driving force in environmental protection internationally. He has invested a lot of his green profile in what he referred to as our moon landing. The governments plan was to catch CO2 and store it in cavities on the sea bed. That would make most fossil fuels a lot cleaner. Apparently it isn’t hard to accomplish. It’s a question of making it financially plausible. After the recent election the government announced that they were closing down the project in its current location and that they have ambitions to try somewhere else.
This was supposed to be as important to mankind as NASA’s mission to the moon. That was some awfully big words, too big. Stand up comedians and talk show hosts have had a lot of fun with that bold statement the last two periods. One might say that Stoltenberg didn’t come much farther than the frog that recently got its second in the spotlight.
We are not much better than we were in 1814. We welcome change under one condition : Nothing has to change .
It is strange that others can do it. EU manages a great deal and even China (although they also pollute a lot) are investing heavily in clean energy, even if they are not willing to commit to anything internationally. It’s almost like we are talking green, while others practice it.
The Labour Party will probably be replaced by the Conservatives in office. As an opposition party one of their duties will be to influence the government to support some of their issues. It would have been a little weird if Stoltenberg pushed for the government to do what he spent 8 years talking about.
It is said that action speaks louder than words. Something tells me that we’re speaking in a very low voice in environmental issues.