The Politics and Policy of Carbon Capture and Storage
Edited by James Meadowcroft and Oluf Langhelle
Andreas Tjernshaugen and Oluf Langhelle At first glance Norway’s role as a CCS pioneer may look odd. The country’s power supply is nearly 100 per cent hydroelectric, with no CO2 emissions. Furthermore, Norway is a major exporter of natural gas to the rest of Europe, which means that a breakthrough in CCS technology for coal-fired power plants is not necessarily in the country’s business interest. In many European countries, a fuel shift from coal to gas is considered an attractive option to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the short term. This would of course help increase the value of the large Norwegian gas reserves.1 The explanation for Norwegian policy makers’ keen interest in CCS can be found in four circumstances. First and most fundamentally, the conflict between climate and energy policy targets has been particularly intense and politically salient in Norway from the late 1980s onwards. This is mostly due to the combination of a large, economically important, offshore oil and gas industry with growing emissions, and a relatively high level of ambition in environmental protection. Norway is probably the only country in the world where a government has resigned on the issue of climate change and CO2 emissions. Second, the power sector somewhat surprisingly became the main flashpoint of climate policy controversies during the 1990s, because of plans to introduce power plants fired with natural gas from the Norwegian continental shelf to the country’s previously emissions-free power supply. An entrenched political conflict over gas-fired power has been the...
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