Within a few short weeks of late summer, climate politics became the dominant theme of this election campaign. Parties with positions closer to the organized environmental movement are advancing, and a number of writers, celebrities, and politicians are working to reinforce this trend. It remains uncertain whether this will continue until the elections. It may seem that the sheer appeal and rapidly changing focus of discussions in social media is also moving into politics. The three weeks leading up to the first election day polls seem infinitely long. For now, however, the focus of public opinion is at odds with the UN climate report.
This is by no means something new, since the 1980s we have had election campaigns where climate and environment have been the main issue. Unfortunately for the environmental issue, you may be tempted to go without leaving lasting traces in politics. A few years later, completely different questions dominate the agenda, before the political signs of the zodiac bring us back to ecology and the environment. What seems to be my turn in these movements is almost a little scary. Both because it may indicate that the campaign theme is changing in the same way as hairstyles or belly cuts.
But more than that because it is a permissive way of dealing with one of the greatest problems of our time: how a society and civilization built on carbon-based energy can replace it without the massive collapse of civilization. How will the world’s ever-growing population survive without access to fossil energy sources? These are real and difficult questions for decades and centuries to come, and it is disgusting to see how lazy they can be treated.
In the rest of the West, we have long seen a growing polarization between the urban middle class and the rest of the population. In countries like the United States and the United Kingdom, this division stands in the way of all progressive political movements. The urban middle class and the left-liberal lifestyle are allied with radical economic elites on many issues that create apathy and contempt for knowledge and fertile ground for dangerous right-wing populism. Norway has not yet been affected by the same disease. Remnants of alliances still live stronger than opposites. Between the city and the countryside, between the left and the rural rebels, between the Labor Party and the Center Party and the rest of the left. It is an alliance based on the settlement of the peasantry, on post-war reconstruction and on the struggle of the European Economic Community and the European Union. But it doesn’t last forever.
In short, Norway is not one of the many lucky oil-rich countries
Earlier this week, Professor Thomas Hyland Eriksen and co-author Lacy Kringstad did their best to ensure we had American conditions in Norway as well. In an article by NRK where they argue that Norway should give away half of the UN oil fund, they also reveal a complete lack of knowledge and interest in the Norwegian oil industry and Norwegian oil history. This in itself is not a sin. Even if I wanted to, I can’t ask everyone in Norway to know this story. But Hylland Eriksen and Kringstad chose in their article to summarize this story. with two statements. Few of us have done anything to deserve the values that oil creates. It is a pure coincidence that we found the oil in Norway and thus we became rich. Both share glaring errors. Both seem to have a deep contempt for those who have worked in and around oil for the past 50 years, and count them in the hundreds of thousands rather than in the tens.
In short, Norway is not one of the many lucky countries rich in oil. Norway is a unique country in the world also in the context of oil. We are currently not even on the list of the twenty countries with the largest oil reserves in the world. You will find before us in addition to Saudi Arabia and a few other countries in the Middle East, such as different countries such as Russia, China, Nigeria, Venezuela, the United States and Canada. None of these countries succeeded in creating a general wealth on oil. Thus, what made Norway a rich country other than the random discovery of oil.
In short, Norway is unique in three or four areas of the oil world. First, with the discovery of oil, we introduced a political system that ensured national control over all the resources under the seabed in the North Sea. We built a jointly owned oil company that learned to extract oil, and introduced a tax system that gave society 78% of the revenues of the major international oil companies. Nobody has done anything like this before, many have tried to copy it. The next step was that in Norway we created a large and innovative supply industry that made the facilities we used to extract the oil. This makes oil technology Norway’s second largest export product, and it is already laying the foundation for offshore wind and other environmental technologies.
Most of the people who worked in oil in Norway did not work in the North Sea, but in the supply industry. And third, we made the unsafe industry more secure. During the 1970s and 1980s, in Norway we set up an offshore industry where the chief safety representative could stop production entirely if he believed there was a risk to human life or emissions from facilities. The industry has become a leading industry for safety and security around the world.
We also sacrificed something for oil and gas. The entire Norwegian economy has been directed towards this industry specifically. We have used our political, economic and human resources to achieve this. And it was dangerous. At least 350 people in the oil industry and suppliers died during these years. Many are injured or disabled, and many have had their marriage and privacy destroyed by the long absences and the rhythm of work on the podium. How many people dread every time they board a helicopter to the North Sea, there are no numbers, but there are no few.
Regardless of what is believed to be the future of the Norwegian oil industry and the use of the oil fund, it should be possible to realize that the story of oil in Norway is not one of luck and injustice, but one of political judgment, effort, innovation, and sacrifice. It’s clear to everyone who has been in contact with this and all other industries, and when people who have lived their whole lives on the spending side of the state budget erase history away with the stroke of a pen, I’m afraid it’s short until we see the first Norwegian Trump.
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