This article is machine translated by Google from Norwegian
Politics are all too often myopic, but in climate policy we have to see the long lines. The decisions we make today can affect emissions for decades to come.
This is precisely why it is time for us in Norway to take a breather and ask ourselves what the Paris Agreement will mean for Norwegian petroleum policy. The areas we open for exploration today will not typically come into production until 2030. By then, the world will have to change dramatically from the way we know it today if we are to avoid a dramatic rise in global temperature.
The adventure ends. Norwegian oil policy is based on a parliamentary report that forecasts an oil price of over 100 dollars barrel in 2030. The latest estimates from the International Energy Agency estimate that the price will be no more than the 66 dollar barrel. The oil industry has been a fantastic adventure for Norway, but as we approach the last chapters of this story, we need other means to bring it to an end.
We are used to announcing exploration blocks and then leaving it to the oil companies themselves to make development decisions that benefit society. There are good reasons to think it's different this time.
The Paris Agreement gives us a carbon budget that we have to deal with. For every year that goes by without the world making major cuts in greenhouse gas emissions, this budget shrinks. The ones who are losing the most are the oil industry – it is no coincidence that Exxon Mobil and Chevron are among those who want the US not to withdraw from the Paris Agreement – they know that if there is room for oil and gas even after 2050, they must emissions are cut rapidly. For Norway, this uncertainty means that we risk making large investments on the Norwegian continental shelf that will never pay off.
The debate on Norwegian petroleum policy is therefore not only about climate, but also about the welfare of the future. If we carry out a licensing round without taking into account the climate risk the Paris Agreement entails, we risk that values that could give more warm hands in the elderly and teachers in the classrooms are tied up in oil rigs in the Barents Sea.
Our knowledge of the future is limited, and so far, only one thing is clear: The world needs to cut greenhouse gas emissions. For Norwegian oil policy, there are only downsides to this scenario – either we are running late and there is less space for fossil energy in the future, or climate policy is proving to work better than expected: Regardless, the result is lower demand for Norwegian oil and gas in the future. 2050. We cannot continue to pursue an oil policy that does not address this.