Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

5 Nobel Peace Laureates Urge Norway PM Candidates to Show Climate Leadership

Climate
5 Nobel Peace Laureates Urge Norway PM Candidates to Show Climate Leadership
Nobel Peace Center in Oslo, Norway. Wikimedia Commons

By Hannah McKinnon

Five Nobel Peace Laureates have called on Norwegian Prime Ministerial candidates to declare their intent to put an end to fossil fuel exploration and expansion.

The letter, sent in advance of the country's national elections in mid-September, is an appeal for climate leadership.


But they are also the world's seventh largest exporter of emissions. Their plans for exploration and expansion of new fossil fuel reserves are wholly inconsistent with what is necessary for the Paris climate goals (see figure 1). Efforts and action to tackle domestic demand dominate, ignoring the other critical half of the equation: supply and production.

Figure 1: Rates of change (base year 2010 = 100) of global emissions in a range of 1.5 or 2 degree Celsius scenarios, and of emissions from Norwegian developed and undeveloped oil and gas fields.

Like other countries (h/t Canada), there is a dangerous disconnect between a stated need for climate action, and continued plans for fossil fuel development. At a time when countries must be planning for a just transition and a managed decline of their fossil fuel sectors, Norway is doing the opposite: it is looking for ways to keep adding new reserves to the mix.

The laureates' message is simple: Norway needs to redefine climate leadership.

Their letter stated:

"Equity and justice in the face of the climate crisis requires nations like Norway to prove the possibility of the end of a fossil-fuel based economy. Recent analysis confirms that there is no room in our shared atmosphere for new extraction of oil, coal, and gas. And yet Norway continues to plan for new production, with proposed expansions that contain 150% more greenhouse gas emissions than already committed through existing projects."

The letter included four requests:

  • Lead by issuing no further leases or permits for new oil and gas extraction projects or related transportation infrastructure.
  • Set a global precedent by becoming the first producer to announce a managed decline of existing production in line with climate safe limits, with a just and equitable transition that protects workers, communities and economies.
  • Invest billions of Norway's trillion dollar sovereign wealth fund into the safe, clean and renewable energy of the 21st century and move away from fossil fuels.
  • Permanently protect the fragile Arctic oceans in the Barents Sea, as well as areas off of the coast of Lofoten, Vesterålen and Senja, from fossil fuel extraction.

Electric cars and carbon pricing aren't enough if you aren't prepared to tackle the problem at its source. In this century, you can't be both a climate leader and a massive fossil fuel exporter at the same time. Leadership now means showing the world that it is possible to transition economies off of oil, coal or gas.

Norway has benefitted enormously from fossil fuels. It has managed its oil production and wealth better, arguably, than anywhere else in the world. It has saved close to a trillion dollars in the world's largest sovereign wealth fund, and has largely proceeded with foresight and consideration in the development of the sector.

Now it is time to apply that same foresight and planning to map a managed decline of its oil and gas sectors. It must use the incredible wealth it has generated to ensure workers, communities and economies are protected as they transition away from a dependency on fossil fuels. After all, if Norway can't figure out how to make this work, who can?

The laureates noted the important relationship between the Peace Prize and the country of Norway: "Alfred Nobel felt strongly that Norwegians embodied an understanding of peace, equity, and justice that uniquely qualified them to judge the prize. We appeal to those values now.

"It is easy to seek cover behind countries that are larger emitters, bigger producers, or egregious laggards, but it is not right. Leadership in this century will be characterized by those who redefine themselves in a clean energy economy and who cease to profit from perpetuating the climate crisis. We believe Norway can be this leader," the letter concluded.

The signatories to the letter included:

Shirin Ebadi, Nobel Peace Laureate (2003) — Iran

Tawakkol Karman, Nobel Peace Laureate (2011) — Yemen

Mairead Maguire, Nobel Peace Laureate (1976) — Northern Ireland

Rigoberta Menchú Tum, Nobel Peace Laureate (1992) — Guatemala

Jody Williams, Nobel Peace Laureate (1997) — U.S.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

The frozen meat section at a supermarket in Hong Kong, China, in February. Chukrut Budrul / SOPA Images / LightRocket via Getty Images

Imported frozen food in three Chinese cities has tested positive for the new coronavirus, but public health experts say you still shouldn't worry too much about catching the virus from food or packaging.

Read More Show Less
This image of the Santa Monica Mountains in California shows how a north-facing slope (left) can be covered in white-blooming hoaryleaf ceanothus (Ceanothus crassifolius), while the south-facing slope (right) is much less sparsely covered in a completely different plant. Noah Elhardt / Wikimedia Commons / CC by 2.5

By Mark Mancini

If weather is your mood, climate is your personality. That's an analogy some scientists use to help explain the difference between two words people often get mixed up.

Read More Show Less
Flames from the Lake Fire burn on a hillside near a fire truck and other vehicles on Aug. 12, 2020 in Lake Hughes, California. Mario Tama / Getty Images

An "explosive" wildfire ignited in Los Angeles county Wednesday, growing to 10,000 acres in a little less than three hours.

Read More Show Less
Although heat waves rarely get the attention that hurricanes do, they kill far more people per year in the U.S. and abroad. greenaperture / Getty Images

By Jeff Berardelli

Note: This story was originally published on August 6, 2020

If asked to recall a hurricane, odds are you'd immediately invoke memorable names like Sandy, Katrina or Harvey. You'd probably even remember something specific about the impact of the storm. But if asked to recall a heat wave, a vague recollection that it was hot during your last summer vacation may be about as specific as you can get.

Read More Show Less

A film by Felix Nuhr.

Thailand has a total population of 5,000 elephants. But of that number, 3,000 live in captivity, carrying tourists on their backs and offering photo opportunities made for social media.

Read More Show Less
Scientists have found a way to use bricks as batteries, meaning that buildings may one day be used to store and generate power. Public Domain Pictures

One of the challenges of renewable power is how to store clean energy from the sun, wind and geothermal sources. Now, a new study and advances in nanotechnology have found a method that may relieve the burden on supercapacitor storage. This method turns bricks into batteries, meaning that buildings themselves may one day be used to store and generate power, Science Times reported.

Bricks are a preferred building tool for their durability and resilience against heat and frost since they do not shrink, expand or warp in a way that compromises infrastructure. They are also reusable. What was unknown, until now, is that they can be altered to store electrical energy, according to a new study published in Nature Communications.

The scientists behind the study figured out a way to modify bricks in order to use their iconic red hue, which comes from hematite, an iron oxide, to store enough electricity to power devices, Gizmodo reported. To do that, the researchers filled bricks' pores with a nanofiber made from a conducting plastic that can store an electrical charge.

The first bricks they modified stored enough of a charge to power a small light. They can be charged in just 13 minutes and hold 10,000 charges, but the challenge is getting them to hold a much larger charge, making the technology a distant proposition.

If the capacity can be increased, researchers believe bricks can be used as a cheap alternative to lithium ion batteries — the same batteries used in laptops, phones and tablets.

The first power bricks are only one percent of a lithium-ion battery, but storage capacity can be increased tenfold by adding materials like metal oxides, Julio D'Arcy, a researcher at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, who contributed to the paper and was part of the research team, told The Guardian. But only when the storage capacity is scaled up would bricks become commercially viable.

"A solar cell on the roof of your house has to store electricity somewhere and typically we use batteries," D'Arcy told The Guardian. "What we have done is provide a new 'food-for-thought' option, but we're not there yet.

"If [that can happen], this technology is way cheaper than lithium ion batteries," D'Arcy added. "It would be a different world and you would not hear the words 'lithium ion battery' again."

Trending

Aerial view of the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Gamboa, Panama, where a new soil study was held, on Sept. 11, 2019. LUIS ACOSTA / AFP via Getty Images

One of the concerns about a warming planet is the feedback loop that will emerge. That is, as the planet warms, it will melt permafrost, which will release trapped carbon and lead to more warming and more melting. Now, a new study has shown that the feedback loop won't only happen in the nether regions of the north and south, but in the tropics as well, according to a new paper in Nature.

Read More Show Less