Norway’s prime minister has dismissed calls for an end to further oil and gas exploration in her country, after 195 countries signed a historic deal to push for zero carbon emissions in the second half of the century.
“We’re going to continue with oil and gas,” Erna Solberg said on Sunday, in comments echoed both by her Progress Party coalition partners and the Labour Party opposition.
Norwegian environmentalists on Saturday and Sunday have called for a complete halt to new oil and gas activity in the wake of the Paris agreement.
“Parliament should cancel the entire 23rd licensing round and stop exploration for new oil and gas resources on the Norwegian shelf,” the Green Party MP and spokesman Rasmus Hansson declared in a call that was backed by the country’s Socialist Left Party.
“One of the first thing we must do is to cancel oil drilling in the Arctic,” said Lars Haltbrekken from the Norwegian Society for the Conservation of Nature.
“There is absolutely no room for Norwegian oil from the Barents Sea or Norwegian gas much beyond 2040 in a 1.5C scenario,” Truls Gulowsen, from Greenpeace Norway said.
Jonas Gahr Støre, the leader of Norway’s Labour Party backed Solberg’s call for the upcoming licensing round to go ahead, arguing that the natural gas Norway supplies to Europe was helping to reduce carbon emissions by cutting consumption of coal.
“It helps that Norway supplies gas to Europe. It is important to bring about a shift away from coal,” he said. “I have not seen any analysis that has shown that shutting down the Norwegian oil and gas industry will increase the use of renewable energy in Europe.”