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
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

Residents plant mangroves on the coast of West Aceh District in Indonesia on Feb. 21, 2020. Mangroves play a crucial role in stabilizing the coastline, providing protection from storms, waves and tidal erosion. Dekyon Eon / Opn Images / Barcroft Media via Getty Images

Mangroves play a vital role in capturing carbon from the atmosphere. Mangrove forests are tremendous assets in the fight to stem the climate crisis. They store more carbon than a rainforest of the same size.

Read More Show Less
UN World Oceans Day is usually an invite-only affair at the UN headquarters in New York, but this year anyone can join in by following the live stream on the UNWOD website from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. EST. https://unworldoceansday.org/

Monday is World Oceans Day, but how can you celebrate our blue planet while social distancing?

Read More Show Less
Cryptococcus yeasts (pictured), including ones that are hybrids, can cause life-threatening infections in primarily immunocompromised people. KATERYNA KON/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY / Getty Images

By Jacob L. Steenwyk and Antonis Rokas

From the mythical minotaur to the mule, creatures created from merging two or more distinct organisms – hybrids – have played defining roles in human history and culture. However, not all hybrids are as fantastic as the minotaur or as dependable as the mule; in fact, some of them cause human diseases.

Read More Show Less
National Trails Day 2020 is now titled In Solidarity, AHS Suspends Promotion of National Trails Day 2020. The American Hiking Society is seeking to amplify Black voices in the outdoor community and advocate for equal access to the outdoors. Klaus Vedfelt / DigitalVision / Getty Images

This Saturday, June 6, marks National Trails Day, an annual celebration of the remarkable recreational, scenic and hiking trails that crisscross parks nationwide. The event, which started in 1993, honors the National Trail System and calls for volunteers to help with trail maintenance in parks across the country.

Read More Show Less
Indigenous people from the Parque das Tribos community mourn the death of Chief Messias of the Kokama tribe from Covid-19, in Manaus, Brazil, on May 14, 2020. MICHAEL DANTAS / AFP / Getty Images

By John Letzing

This past Wednesday, when some previously hard-hit countries were able to register daily COVID-19 infections in the single digits, the Navajo Nation – a 71,000 square-kilometer (27,000-square-mile) expanse of the western US – reported 54 new cases of what's referred to locally as "Dikos Ntsaaígíí-19."

Read More Show Less
World Environment Day was put into motion almost fifty years ago by the United Nations as a response to a multitude of environmental threats. RicardoImagen / Getty Images

It's a different kind of World Environment Day this year. In prior years, it might have been enough to plant a tree, spend some extra time in the garden, or teach kids the importance of recycling. This year we have heavier tasks at hand. It's been months since we've been able to spend sufficient time outside, and as we lustfully watch the beauty of a new spring through our kitchen's glass windows, we have to decide how we'll interact with the natural world on our release, and how we can prevent, or be equipped to handle, future threats against our wellbeing.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Experts are worried that COVID-19, a primarily respiratory and airway disease, could have permanent effects on lungs, inhibiting the ability for divers to continue diving. Tiffany Duong / Ocean Rebels

Scuba divers around the world are holding their metaphorical breath to see if a coronavirus infection affects the ability to dive.

Read More Show Less