Norway’s main opposition Labour Party will begin coalition negotiations to form a government on Tuesday. This will come after the ruling Conservatives lost control of parliament in parliamentary elections. The anti-oil Greens failed to get enough seats to become the potential kingmaker.
Following an election campaign focusing on the climate issue and the future of the country’s wealthy oil business, Labour set to ally with the country’s Center Party and the Socialist Left Party. It has not ruled out talks with the Greens. The only party calling for an end to all fossil fuel exploration.
Norway is the Western world’s largest oil producer and third-largest natural gas exporter. Oil contributes significantly to the country’s riches while contradicting Norway’s other credentials as a worldwide climate leader. Hence, the future of fossil fuels in the country became a contentious subject during the election campaign.
The results depose Prime Minister Erna Solberg, who had become Norway’s longest-serving leader after eight years in power. Solberg has refused to impose a time limit on fossil fuel production instead of aiming to continue until 2050.
A Climate Paradox
Socialists have a more aggressive climate agenda than Labour. Hence, they may still have some say over the country’s future energy plans.
The Norwegian Climate Foundation’s head, Lars-Henrik Paarup Michelsen, stated that Labour needs the backing of at least one green party to gain control of parliament.
Regardless of the outcome, he claimed that the elections pushed the climate catastrophe into the public eye and the government’s plan. However, Fay Farstad, a senior researcher at CICERO, a Norwegian institute for multidisciplinary climate research, believes the Center Party’s gains show that the fight over oil is not as clear-cut.
Norway has a high level of living in many ways. It owns mainly its $1.1 trillion sovereign wealth fund, the world’s largest, which invests income from the oil industry. Its website displays the fund’s current value, allowing Norwegians to marvel at their seemingly endless wealth.
For some time, the country’s stance on climate catastrophe has been contradictory. The oil and gas industry is vital to the Norwegian economy, employing 200,000 people – between 6% and 7% of the workforce –accounting for 14% of GDP and 41% of exports. The UN research, released as most of the Northern Hemisphere experienced heatwaves, wildfires, and flooding, discovered that climate change occurred quicker than experts previously assumed. During the summer, a heatwave scorched areas of Norway, a country known for its temperate climate.