Norway To Drill For Oil To Fund Its Green Spending

Andrew Follett | Energy and Science Reporter

Norwegian government officials announced Monday they intend to fight global warming by spending money derived from oil and gas drilling on green projects.

The country is pouring lucrative subsidies into the electric car market from its oil and gas funded $890 billion sovereign wealth fund, and which they plan to use to become carbon neutral by 2030, ban gasoline-fueled cars and spend billions helping poor countries go green. Norway has already made about $178,000 off of the country’s oil and gas deposits per Norwegian.

“We know there is a paradox,” Vidar Helgesen, Norway’s climate and energy minister, admitted in a press release.”We have been living well from oil and gas. But there is no country in the world that has done more to undermine the oil and gas industry than Norway.”

Much of Norway’s plans to fight global warming involves the country donating massively to international initiatives to maintain rain-forests, with the country spending $1 billion saving trees in Brazil and committing to spend up to $350 million a year on forests in Indonesia and Guyana.

“If you’re favored by certain accidents of geography and climate, you can get all your electricity from hydropower. If in addition you’re favored by accidents of geology, you can make billions selling oil and gas,” Marlo Lewis, an analyst at the free-market Competitive Enterprise Institute, told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “You can then use oil and gas revenues to become ‘carbon neutral’—you can both subsidize hydro-charged electric vehicles at home and pay poor countries not to cut down trees.”

Norway the world’s eighth biggest exporter of oil and third biggest exporter of natural gas and roughly 40 percent of the country’s exports are hydrocarbons. The country supplies about 20 percent of Europe’s natural gas.

“This strategy is clearly not a model for the vast majority of other countries,” Lewis continues. “Most areas do not have suitable geography and climate for mega-hydro dams. Most do not have suitable geology for offshore oil & gas production. If nobody produced gas and oil, no one would be rich enough to pay foreigners not to develop their natural resources. Alternatively, if every country were rich in oil and gas, the [Kyoto Protocal’s Clean Development Mechanism] would not exist and Norway would have to restrict domestic output to achieve carbon neutrality.”

The Norwegian government plans to allow drastically more oil exploration, while simultaneously placing a 78 percent tax on oil and gas drilled in Norwegian waters to fund its green commitments. The country’s government-owned energy company, Statoil, plans to invest heavily in offshore oil and gas in coming years, with other energy companies like Chevron and ConoccoPhillips also securing permits.

“Norwegians are pursuing their economic interest by trying to develop more offshore oil and gas fields,” Myron Ebell, director of the Center for Energy and Environment at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “Their goal of becoming ‘carbon neutral’ by 2030 is a fantasy that will prove to be as achievable as finding the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.”

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Tags : brazil chevron competitive enterprise institute energy norway statoil
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