Highly cautious internally

Highly cautious internally

Storting (Dagbladet): – I take the climate seriously, but you cannot adopt goals for which there are no technological, economic or natural requirements. The narrative promoted in Norway and Europe that welfare growth and climate goals should be achieved at the same time is not going well.

Until this summer, Ola Borten Mo was Minister of Research and Higher Education and deputy leader of the Center Party, but he resigned from both positions and announced that he would not stand for re-election to Parliament after trading shares as a minister.

On his way out of Norwegian politics, he wants to come to terms with Norwegian and European climate policy, the so-called green transition. A goal for Norway and Europe to be climate neutral by 2050, and already by 2030 to cut 55 percent of emissions from the reference year 1990.

He warned inwardly

Ola Burton-Mo refers to the goal as “completely unrealistic” and the practical consequences as “expensive and bad”.

– You participated in this yourself in the government. Did you warn your colleagues?

– Now I am no longer in government and I can speak freely, but it is clear that I have warned against what I believe are harmful policies. If Norway is to achieve the climate goals we have set, there is only one realistic alternative: we must stop producing things, reduce consumption and put the entire economy into recession. “I think that's a very poor alternative,” Burton-Moe says.

-We must also have an ethical discussion about how the world can use its resources to solve a global problem. In Norway, it has become a moral imperative not to use quotas and flexible mechanisms. I don't see why it's right to do something so expensive and bad in Norway, if you can get 10 to 20 times the impact for the same money anywhere else in the world.

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ON THE WAY OUT: Ola Burton-Moe resigned as Minister of Research and Higher Education this summer. He also resigned as deputy leader of the Center Party and announced that he would not seek re-election to Parliament. Photo: Ole Berg Rusten/NTB
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Ola Borten Moe has also caught on Bus chaos in Oslo The last few weeks the electric buses have been stuck on smooth roads.

The last few weeks in Oslo are a good example of the madness of a system in which political goals are set without being technologically possible. Norway can afford these costs because we have a lot of oil money, and people seem to have stopped caring that society is wasting money on cow-breeding projects.

When Ola Burton Mo was asked what specifically he thought was a “harmful policy” from the government, he highlighted the ambition of producing green hydrogen with electricity we don’t have.

Hydrogen investment From last year is an example of harmful politics, says Burton Moe, and continues:

-We must prioritize more in Norway moving forward. We have too many seniors, too many people on Social Security, higher taxes, and too big a public sector. The party's over. Now we have to free up money and people for defense and preparedness. This is the most important thing now.

– Inflation has been politically approved

Ola Burton Mo paints a bleak picture of European development. Borten Moe points out that Norway is closely linked to European climate, industry and energy policy, which also affects us apart from power cables.

The European Union and the United States were economies of equal size after the financial crisis. Today, the United States is more than 30 percent larger and enjoying much stronger growth. Inflation has fallen in the United States, while it has remained more stable in the European Union despite the lack of economic growth.

Europe has largely embraced inflation politically. Energy is more expensive due to climate measures and people are surrounded by tariff walls and taxes. Burton Mo asserts that this is a political desire for things to become more expensive in Europe, it is a deliberate policy.

In the Netherlands, the first political earthquake came after proposals to increase carbon taxes and regulate nitrogen emissions from agriculture through the New Farmers' Party, which became the largest party in last year's regional elections, and later through the far-right party of Geert Wilders. To become the largest in the parliamentary elections.

“The liquidation of agriculture in the country was politically agreed upon,” says Burton Mo.

– French farmers plow highways. They are plowing! European agriculture now faces a different form than Dutch agriculture faced three or four years ago. In practical terms, this means you are reducing your food production and value creation. They are then replaced by imports and the “climate targets” are then achieved.

– The truth is that the rainforests in Brazil and Indonesia have been cut down to supply Europe with protein, so we don't have to grow them ourselves. It's exactly the same thing that happens with industry.

Central: Ola Borten Moe in conversation with Socialist Party leader Trygve Slagsvold Vidum and parliamentary leader Marit Arnstad during government negotiations in Hurdalssjøen.  Photo: Terje Pedersen/NTB

Central: Ola Borten Moe in conversation with Socialist Party leader Trygve Slagsvold Vidum and parliamentary leader Marit Arnstad during government negotiations in Hurdalssjøen. Photo: Terje Pedersen/NTB
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Stalin's five-year plan

Porten Mo points out that the situation in Norway is considered less dramatic now, because we have “a huge amount of oil money that we distribute around.” But we are now seeing an actual decline in manufacturing in Europe, with consequent job losses and value creation, says Seb Tobin.

– In Europe, it's more focused because they can't live off other people's work through securities and fixed income stocks, like we do.

-What do you want to achieve when the doors close?

– I hope we can bring some realism to the climate debate. Emissions have been cut by four per cent since 1990. So do we have to cut more than 50 per cent by 2030? Burton asks rhetorically.

Norwegian politicians have set goals for climate reduction, industrial production, and self-sufficiency in agriculture, something we must go back to the Soviet Union's five-year plans to find a parallel to. It is disconnected from technological and economic reality. My understanding is simply that we are not there, quite the opposite. There is still a link between energy access and value creation, Burton-Moe says.

– Politicians have embraced the revolution. It would have been great and very good if it had worked, but we are not growing and we are not reaching our goals. Europe and Norway leave themselves alone. China and the United States can laugh all the way to the bank.

It was Joseph Stalin who introduced the Five-Year Plans in the Soviet Union in 1929. The goal was to industrialize the Soviet Union. In the field of agriculture, the state confiscated land and collective farming was introduced.

The result was famine and millions died, but the Soviet Union industrialized at record speed.

Reality is coming

Germany has led the way with Angela Merkel's initiative.energy“, which Ola Burton Moe refers to as “total insanity”:

The conclusion so far is high energy prices, poor security of supply, and low economic activity. The shutdown of German nuclear power and the loss of cheap Russian gas pushed the German economy into recession. French Development Agency (Alternative for Germany, far-right party in Germany, press note) It is now the second largest party with 24 percent in the polls. We see the same thing in Sweden, France and Italy. If we deprive people of their livelihood and hope for the future, the political earthquake that will follow need not be particularly sympathetic.

In Norway, just over half of energy consumption is emissions-free. About 150 TWh of renewable energy and 150 TWh of fossil energy are consumed in the Kingdom. Burton Mo points out that today there is no technology, or desire to use nature, to replace fossil energy:

– If we wanted to replace 150 terawatt hours of fossil fuels with renewable energy sources, this would be equivalent to, for example, 10,000 wind turbines. Where should it be placed? We saw how well things went with the 277 windmill in Füssen. I wish we could get offshore wind from the seabed in the southern North Sea, but the reality is that it is only 6 to 7 TWh, and it requires significant subsidies. The prices of upcoming projects will be much higher due to the presence of floating offshore winds. This must be paid for either through the tax bill or through a higher electricity price. The realistic solution is nuclear energy.

– The truth is that in the end he knocks on the door and says, “Look, I'm here.” Vice Chancellor Robert Habeck in Germany – which heads a government less popular among the Reds and Greens than Norway's – said we are “bucketed by reality” to explain this decline. Reality may not be so good.

Jabori Obasanjo

Jabori Obasanjo

"Coffee trailblazer. Certified pop culture lover. Infuriatingly humble gamer."

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