The Nobel Committee has stunned oddsmakers by not choosing 16-year-old Greta Thunberg to win the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize.
The five-member Norwegian panel as an alternative introduced on Friday that Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed had gained the award, “for his efforts to achieve peace and international cooperation, and for in particular his decisive initiative to resolve the border conflict with neighboring Eritrea,” a press release stated.
Thunberg has change into the figurehead of the youth local weather motion after skipping faculty to protest exterior the Swedish Parliament in August 2018, inspiring the waves of pupil strikes that adopted.
Over the final 12 months, she has (amongst different issues) led a Global Climate Strike spanning 150 international locations, graced the quilt of Time Magazine as a ‘Next Generation Leader’ and sailed throughout the Atlantic Ocean in a yacht to speak to lawmakers in Washington and New York.
“Greta Thunberg has become a household name, elevating the climate conversation both globally and generationally,” Gregory Wetstone, president and CEO of the American Council on Renewable Energy, informed Newsweek.
“Every nation can benefit from heeding her advice and accelerating the transition to a renewable energy economy.”
One of these international locations is the nation that successfully decides who wins the Nobel Peace Prize every year—Norway, the place the 5 members chosen to serve on the committee are chosen by the Norwegian parliament. The nation has a posh relationship with greenhouse gas-emitting fossil fuels, which traditionally have been (and arguably continues to be) a significant supply of Norway’s wealth.
“Norway has benefitted from oil and gas production in multiple ways, but primarily from the security and economic advantages they have derived from exporting energy to other parts of the world,” Michael Webber, Josey Centennial Professor in Energy Resources on the University of Texas at Austin and Chief Science & Technology Officer at ENGIE, informed Newsweek.
“That has earned them phenomenal wealth (divided amongst a small population) and security (because they do not need to rely on other countries for their energy).”
While it strives to be a “low carbon society” by 2050—committing to the objective in laws—and pushes for environmental coverage, it stays one of many world’s largest exporters of oil and pure gasoline. According to the CIA, Norway is the world’s third-largest pure gasoline exporter, behind Russia and Qatar.
Somini Sengupta, writing in the New York Times in 2017 calls this battle between “climate leader” and “oil giant” a “Norwegian Paradox.”
“Norway has for the last 50 years or so developed its dependency on oil, which has also given us a wealth other countries can barely dream of,” a spokesperson from Greenpeace Norway informed Newsweek. “We are in a climate crisis, and the world can’t afford Norway to keep its double standards the way it does now.”
Indeed, the most recent figures from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) present Norway was producing 1,864 thousand barrels of oil a day in 2018. This made it the fifteenth largest producer worldwide. In 2017, the nation generated 4,375 billion cubic ft of pure gasoline, making it the seventh largest producer globally.
The bulk of this vitality is exported exterior the nation—1,395 thousand barrels of oil a day in 2017 and 4,244 billion cubic ft of pure gasoline in 2016. According to the European Commission, the chief department of the European Union (EU), Norway is within the world high 5 exporters of crude oil, with the oil and gasoline sector making up roughly 22 p.c of Norwegian GDP and 67 p.c of the nation’s exports.
“Even though the Labour party is slowly starting to talk about a more climate friendly industry, and most of the youth parties, except the far right ones, now want to end oil, the debate on this is going very slowly,” stated Greenpeace Norway. “We need a systemic change that the Norwegian government in no way takes responsibility of.”
At the identical time, the federal government is taking some steps to a renewable future together with a push to electrical automobiles. One initiative is to make sure all new cars sold by 2025 are electric or hydrogen-fueled (and thus, zero-emission). Indeed, for the primary time in its historical past, in March 2019, electrical vehicles have been offered in greater numbers than gasoline and diesel vehicles, CNN reported.
What’s extra, the nation’s electrical energy technology is nearly completely renewable. In 2017, 96 p.c was produced by hydropower. Another 2 p.c was produced by wind energy, experiences The Climate Action Tracker—an impartial science-based evaluation of presidency motion on local weather produced by Climate Analytics and the NewClimate Institute.
“They are actively looking at the post-oil world,” stated Webber. “For example, the state-owned oil company, formerly known as Statoil, has changed its name to Equinor and expanded its scope to include major offshore wind projects. They also lead the world on carbon sequestration (coupled with their oil production in the North Sea).”
The Norwegian wealth fund’s divestment from oil and gasoline exploration (value billions), introduced earlier this 12 months, is an additional instance of this.
“Many significant institutional or individual actions that are striving for an ideal exist in the tensions between the contradictions of today and better future aspirations,” Chris Bacon, Associate Professor of Environmental Studies and Co-founder of the Environmental Justice and Common Good Initiative, informed Newsweek.
“However, the recent decision of Norway’s leadership to start moving their sovereign wealth fund’s investments away from fossil fuel-only companies contributes to reducing the contradictions.”
Thunberg herself may not have wanted a prize for her contribution to the local weather change motion however for a lot of, Norway’s determination to offer the award to a local weather activist would have been an vital symbolic gesture.
“We could all do more,” stated Webber. “But, Norway, is extra aggressive with their shift to a post-oil world than each different main oil-exporting nation.
Choosing Thunberg to be this 12 months’s winner of the Nobel Peace prize would have been “a useful symbolism to match their actions,” he added.