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What climate emergency? Norway’s new socialist government expected to keep drilling for oil and gas

Global Warming Policy Forum

Billed as another ‘climate change election’ by green campaigners and the media’s usual eco-warriors, Norway’s new socialist government is almost certain to keep drilling for more oil and gas – indefinitely.

According to the cabal of eco-journalists in the Norwegian and British media the ‘climate issue’ dominated the election campaign. The IPCC report was supposed to give a huge boost to the greens who called for curbs on oil and gas drilling.

Instead, Norway’s new socialist government is expected to ignore all calls for an end to fossil fuels, uphold existing oil and gas policies which aim at maximising the full economic gains from the sector that has made Norway one of the wealthiest nations on earth. Let’s face it: No one is going to choke the life out of the Golden goose.

Norway to hold firm on oil, gas, energy transition under new government

Victory by the Labor Party at parliamentary polls confirms Norway’s broad intention to make the most of its oil and gas resources despite environmental and legal challenges mounting against the sector across Europe.

With Conservative Prime Minister Erna Solberg conceding defeat, the stage is set for a switch back to a center-left administration led by the Labor Party, which headed the previous government to Solberg’s, up to 2013.

Tax changes designed to answer criticism that the regime is too supportive of oil and gas exploration, proposed by the authorities ahead of the election, appear likely to gain parliamentary approval without provoking industry ire.

The Green Party looks likely to have advanced on the one seat it held previously and could yet play a role in a coalition government, but its goal of abolishing the oil and gas sector in Norway by 2035 looks far-fetched.

While support for the Greens and environmental discussion have risen up the agenda, “Labor are more or less a guarantee for no dramatic change,” Teodor Sveen-Nilsen, research analyst at Spare Bank 1 Markets, told S&P Global Platts.

S&P Global Platts Analytics senior analyst Sami Yahya said the results “provide the Labor Party with a wider array of options of how to form the next government,” with potential partners the Center and Socialist Left parties both supporting exploration and extraction, albeit the latter wants a more aggressive approach on climate change.

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