Norway’s Renewable Energy Success and Its Fossil Fuel Export

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Norway is a shining example when it comes to climate change leadership. Its nearly zero-emissions electric system – 98% of its energy comes from renewable energy sources mainly hydropower.

The country is also investing in floating solar farms and continuous improvement in solar panels that could withstand the ocean’s strong swells and surges. While many of its households collect, store, and even sell solar power to energy companies.

The country also donates billions of dollars to the Green Climate Fund – a fund that supports developing countries affected by climate change and adapt to it.

When it comes to electric vehicles, as early as the late 90s the government plans to put 50 thousand electric cars on the road by 2017, and not only it has reached the target it was able to do so two years earlier than planned. Today they have 200 thousand pure electric vehicles all charged up using an extremely low emissions electric grid and plans to have all newly registered cars to be zero-emission in six years. Their government tax breaks allowed them to achieve this car electrification success in a short time.   

Despite Norway’s success in renewable energy and electrification, it remains one of the largest exporters of oil and gas. Critics call it’s a Norwegian paradox and a notable contradiction to its climate policy.

This Norwegian paradox is under examination in a climate court case between the people of Norway vs. the government. According to the Guardian article:

“In a high-profile lawsuit filed in 2016, Greenpeace Nordic and Norway’s Nature and Youth organisation argued that the government is violating the rights of present and future generations to a safe and healthy environment by continuing to issue licences to petroleum companies, enabling them to explore for new oil reserves.

In the first week of the appeal hearing, we heard that the Norwegian government challenges elements of established climate science and maintains its argument that Norway is justified in continuing to search for new oil in the vulnerable Arctic region.

In 2018, the district court confirmed that the right to a healthy environment is an enforceable human right protected by article 112 of Norway’s constitution. The government has a legal obligation to respect, protect and fulfil this fundamental human right.

However, the judge accepted the government’s claim that Norway has no responsibility for carbon emissions resulting from burning Norwegian oil and gas outside of Norway. Hence the appeal by the environmental organisations.”

From a climate change perspective, it is irrelevant where on Earth fossil fuels are burned as emissions exacerbate climate emergency, the article says. 

As a wealthy nation, Norway has a high adaptive capacity and certainly sufficient resources to protect its citizens from climate change effects.

But developing countries like Fiji, Dominica, and many others are struggling to adapt or is slow to get back to their feet when disasters hit them.

To read more, click the links below:


Renewable energy production in Norway. (2016) Retrieved from

Carroll, M. (2019, June 27). Norway’s leading the charge on a sustainable electric future. National Geographic. Retrieved from

Boyd, D. (2019, November 12). Norway flaunts its green credentials – so why is it drilling more oil wells? The Guardian. Retrieved from

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