Norwegian prime minister calls for increasing energy supply, reducing emissions

Norway's Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg opened ONS on Tuesday, Aug. 26 with his strategy on increasing global energy supplies while decreasing global emissions of greenhouses gasses.

Offshore staff

STAVANGER, Norway -- Norway's Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg opened ONS on Tuesday, Aug. 26 with his strategy on increasing global energy supplies while decreasing global emissions of greenhouses gasses.

The world has come to realize two central facts about energy, Stoltenberg says. "On the one hand, energy supply is necessary for economic growth and poverty reduction; and on the other hand, the use of fossil fuel has a negative impact on the climate."

While the impacts of high energy prices is cause for great international concern, we should also bear in mind that the increase in energy prices reflects some good news for the world, Stoltenberg says. "It is a reflection of the strong global economic growth of the last two decades, and it has brought hundreds of millions of people out of poverty."

For this development to continue, the world needs to increase the supply of energy further, he says.

Meanwhile, we need to reduce global CO2 emissions by at least 50%, and fossil energy is the main source of these emissions, according to Stoltenberg. To resolve this dilemma, the prime minister suggests putting a global price on carbon. "In the years to come, emitting greenhouse gases will be costly, and I have no doubt that a clear signal on price will have a great impact."

Stoltenberg points to consumer purchasing behavior, switching to public transportation, and the CO2 tax on the Norwegian continental shelf (NCS), as ways in which prices can contribute to reduced emissions. Currently, emissions of CO2 per unit of petroleum produced on the NCS are less than half of the international averages, he says.

"Carbon pricing alone, however, will not solve our climate change problems; additional action is needed." The prime minister points to three ways that Norway can contribute: first, the substitution of coal by gas; second, exporting energy efficiency; and finally, developing carbon capture and storage (CCS).

Norway has ample gas to fuel this strategy – it is the third largest gas exporter in the world, and 60% of the country's remaining reserves are expected to be gas.

As for CCS, the prime minister believes that if developed and deployed worldwide, CCS may make a key contribution to combating climate change. Within a few years, it is expected that a full-scale CCS facility will be up and running at the Mongstad power plant. "However, worldwide deployment of CCS can only be achieved through international cooperation," Stoltenberg says.

"At the political level we need to create a financial framework that makes it commercially attractive to develop and invest in CCS."

08/26/2008

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