…as your Prime Minister I stand here today with a serious and demanding message. Normally I use the opportunity of speaking to you on the eve of a new year to highlight a range of issues both in our own immediate environment and in the world around us. These issues are often evident, and in need of political and economic attention. Much can be improved within sectors as health and welfare, education and research, infrastructure and future economic development. Even right here, in the richest country in the world, groups of people struggle to cope with everyday life, and deserve our support and help.
But this year I have chosen to focus all my attention toward one single topic – overshadowing all others – namely our collective responsibility to fight global warming and thus secure a future healthy globe for ourselves and our children.
For many of us the issues at hand may seem distant and difficult to grasp. How should each one of us deal with far reaching, global changes that may only affect our globe in 20 to 50 years down the line? Although I have earlier preached differently, I have realized there are few simple answers. I still believe our initiatives to finance projects curbing destruction of rainforests in other parts of the world, as well as building real carbon capture and storage solutions are important. And I will work hard to gather more support and money for these.
BUT, and there is a huge BUT. This is no longer enough. If we are going to have any chance of succeeding, I need to find a way to involve all of you – in a massive popular “uprising” against our current “path of fossil destruction”.
Our “global playground” is sick – very sick and the diagnosis is complex. The world’s population is running out of time, and demand that politicians like myself stop talking – and start to act.
As Prime Minister of the world’s richest country I now realize the urgent need for a dramatic change of course. Today Norway has the among the highest carbon emissions per capita on the global scene, and quite contrary to our ambitions they continue to rise. This has to end.
Norway’s affluence and welfare is grounded on 40 years of exploiting oil and gas reserves in the North Sea, while building a world leading petroleum industry. Along this path, state-owned Statoil has developed into a world class petroleum company – competing with the best. Excess revenues from “oil and gas” have been used to build the world’s largest sovereign fund – a money coffin of huge dimensions.
So what now?
I believe – enough is enough – and I believe Norway has a moral obligation to use our newfound welfare to initiate building a future society – where sustainability is a key factor.
The world needs countries that can lead the development – and show that is possible to curb and reduce carbon emissions, while at the same time build forceful and sustainable industries. Norway has all the ingredients needed – natural resources, energy and industrial expertise and the financial means.
Norway can be this “leading star”. And if not Norway – who then? “
Unfortunately the above is at best a dream – given today’s government. Waking up from a “good dream” can be scary and frustrating, especially when you know it could never be real.
In 9 months Norway will elect a new Parliament, and possibly a new government, and with it a new Prime Minister. Any chance he or she will make my dream a reality?