Skip to main content

A pioneer country? A history of Norwegian climate politics

Abstract

The shift away from ecology towards climatology in Norwegian environmental policy in the late 1980s and 1990s was not accidental. A main mover was the Labor Party politician Gro Harlem Brundtland who did not want to deal with unruly and highly vocal Deep Ecologists. Better then to start afresh with a different set of environmental scholars appealing to the technocratic tradition within the Labor Party. Instead of changing the ethical and social ways of dealing with environmental problems as the Deep Ecologists were advocating, she was looking for technological and economic solutions. And she mobilized an international regime of carbon capture storage (CCS), tradable carbon emissions quota (TEQs), and clean development mechanisms (CDMs), all of which eventually were approved in Kyoto in 1997. This move towards technocracy and cost-benefit economics reflects a post-Cold War turn towards utilitarian capitalism, but also a longing to showcase Norway as an environmental pioneer country to the world. The underlying question was how to reconcile the nation’s booming petroleum industry with reduction in climate gas emissions. Should the oil and gas stay underground and the country strive towards the ecologically informed zerogrowth society the Deep Ecologists were envisioning? Or could growth in the petroleum industry take place without harming the environment as the Labor Party environmentalists argued?

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

References

  1. Aardal B, Henry V (1995) Konflikt og opinion. NKS-forlaget, Oslo

    Google Scholar 

  2. Alstadheim KB (2010) Klimaparadokset: Jens Stoltenberg om vår tids største utfordirng. Aschehoug, Oslo

    Google Scholar 

  3. Andersen W, Bugge HC, Meier-Hansen D, Branck OW, Eskeland S (1977) Bravoutblåsningen: Aksjonsledelsens rapport, Norges Offentlige Utredninger 57. Universitetsforlaget, Oslo

    Google Scholar 

  4. Anker P (2007) Science as a vacation: a history of ecology in Norway. Hist Sci 45:455–479

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. Anonymous (1968) Working meeting on analysis of ecosystems: tundra zone ustaoset

  6. Anonymous (1970) Og etter oss… Naturvernforbundet, Oslo

  7. Anonymous (1971) Og havet vil stige, VG March 27

  8. Anonymous (1990) Executive summary, in Mykletun J (ed.) Sustainable development, science policy: the conference report. Oslo: Norwegian Research Council for Science and the Humanities, 9

  9. Anonymous (2000) CICERO senter for klimaforskning: en evaluering. Norges forskningsråd, Oslo

    Google Scholar 

  10. Asdal K (2011) Politikkens natur – naturens politikk. Universitetsforlaget, Oslo

    Google Scholar 

  11. Benestad O (1978) Overvekst eller likevekt? Industrivekstsamfunnets sammenbrudd - skisse av et nytt likevektsamfunn. MiljØko, Oslo

    Google Scholar 

  12. Bolin B (2007) A history of the science and politics of climate change. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge

    Book  Google Scholar 

  13. Borowy I (2014) Defining sustainable development for our common future: a history of the world commission on environment and development (Brundtland commission). Routledge, London

    Google Scholar 

  14. Braathen G (2000) Sluttrapport fra forskningsprogram om klima- og ozon spørsmål 1989–1998. Norsk Institutt for Luftforskning, Oslo

    Google Scholar 

  15. Brown L (1981) Building a sustainable society. Norton, New York

    Google Scholar 

  16. Brown L, Starke L (1984) State of the world 1985: a worldwatch institute report on progress toward a sustainable society. Norton, New York

    Google Scholar 

  17. Brundtland GH (1975) Stortingsforhandlinger 1974/1975, 13 May, 4163

  18. Brundtland GH (1977) Forskning, forvaltning og politikk. Ting 2:24–31, 28

    Google Scholar 

  19. Brundtland GH, Walløe L (1976) Menarcheal age in Norway in the 19th century: a re-evaluation of historical sources. Ann Hum Biol 3:363–374

    Article  Google Scholar 

  20. Carpenter R (1981) Assessing tropical forest lands: their suitability for sustainable uses. Tycooly International, Dublin

    Google Scholar 

  21. Central Bureau of Statistics (1970, 1974) Outdoor life, Oslo: Government Printing

  22. Dahl E (1966) Forelesninger i økologi Ås archive

  23. Edwards PN (2010) A vast machine: computer models, climate data, and the politics of global warming. MIT Press, Cambridge

    Google Scholar 

  24. Fleming JR (2005) Historical perspectives on climate change. Oxford University Press, Oxford

    Google Scholar 

  25. Hansson S, Teigene IH (1992) Makt og mannefall: Historien om Gro Harlem Brundtland. Cappelen, Oslo

    Google Scholar 

  26. Hare FK (1986) Mandate for change: the relevance of climate. World Commission archive, Ottawa

    Google Scholar 

  27. Hjorthol LM (2006) Alta: Kraftkampen som utfordret statens makt. Gyldendal, Oslo

    Google Scholar 

  28. Karlsen HT (2014) The cost of participating in the greenhouse gas emission permit marked. Statistics Norway, Oslo

    Google Scholar 

  29. Kelin N (2014) This changes everything: capitalism vs. climate. Simon and Schuster, New York

    Google Scholar 

  30. Knorr D (1983) Sustainable food systems. Ellis Horwood, Chichester

    Google Scholar 

  31. Kofoed JE (1978) Nok ein sigar for kraftfantastane? Snm-nytt 1 Jan., 3

  32. Kvaløy SS (1987) Vår felles framtid – symptom på katastrofe? Nytt fra Universitetet i Oslo Nov. 8., 16–19

  33. Martiniussen E (2013) Drivhuseffekten: Klimapolitikken som forsvant. Manifest, Oslo

  34. Meadows DH et al (1972) The limits to growth: a report for the club of Rome’s project on the predicament of mankind. Potomac, New York

    Google Scholar 

  35. Ministry of the Environment (1989) St.meld. nr 46 (1988–1989): Miljø og utvikling: Norges oppfølging av Verdenskommisjonens rapport. Goverment Printing, Oslo

    Google Scholar 

  36. Nilsen Y (2001) En felles plattform? Norsk oljeindustri og klimadebatten i Norge fram til 1998. TMV Senter, Oslo

  37. Næss A (1973) The shallow and the deep, long-range ecology movements: a summary. Inquiry 16:95–100

    Article  Google Scholar 

  38. Næss A (1976) Økologi, safmunn og livsstil. Universitetsforlaget, Oslo, pp 116–175

    Google Scholar 

  39. Østerud Ø (2006) Lite land som humanitær stormakt? Nytt Norsk Tidsskrift 4:303–316

    Google Scholar 

  40. Parr H, Bryne KH, Hofseth P, Riekeles J (1974) Energi, miljø og samfunn: en utredning fra Norges naturvernforbund utarbeidet av forbundets energiutvalg. Norges naturvernforbund, Oslo

    Google Scholar 

  41. Paulsen G et al (2014) Building trust: the history of DNV 1864–2014. Dinamo, Oslo

    Google Scholar 

  42. Pirages D (1977) The sustainable society: implications for limited growth. Praeger, New York

    Google Scholar 

  43. Randalls S (2011) Optimal climate change: economics and climate science policy histories (from heuristic to normative). Osiris 26:224–242

    Article  Google Scholar 

  44. Randers J (1975) A quest for a sustainable society. Gruppen for Ressurssstudier, Oslo

    Google Scholar 

  45. Reinertsen M (2009) Oljefondets utspring, Morgenbladet 22. mai

  46. Rosenqvist IT (1989) Den store miljøbløffen. Vegviseren 16:8–9

    Google Scholar 

  47. Sörlin S (2011) The anxieties of a science diplomat. Osiris 26:66–88

    Article  Google Scholar 

  48. Stoltenberg J (1985) Makroøkonomisk planlegging under usikkerhet – en empirisk analyse. Statistisk sentralbyrå, Oslo

    Google Scholar 

  49. Viksveen T (2011) Jens stoltenberg: et portrett. Pax, Oslo

    Google Scholar 

  50. Weart SR (2003) The discovery of global warming. Harvard University Press, Cambridge

    Google Scholar 

  51. World Commission on Environment and Development (1987) Our common future. Oxford University Press, Oxford

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Peder Anker.

Additional information

This article is part of a Special Issue on “Historicizing Climate Change” edited by Melissa Lane, John R. McNeill, Robert H. Socolow, Sverker Sörlin.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Anker, P. A pioneer country? A history of Norwegian climate politics. Climatic Change 151, 29–41 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10584-016-1653-x

Download citation