Norway’s $2.6 Billion Green Bet Could Help the Whole Planet


OSLO: Plentiful reserves of fossil fuels and rich seams of valuable minerals are no guarantee of national health, wealth, or happiness. The “resource curse” has blighted many countries: Venezuela and the Democratic Republic of Congo, for example, have suffered from years of graft, civil unrest, and poverty. After discovering oil in the 1960s, Norway has managed to escape these troubles. It allied fossil fuel extraction to a robust judicial system and political institutions, and created what is now the world’s largest sovereign wealth fund. Norway has become Europe’s largest producer of oil and is home to some of the richest and happiest people in the world. Now the country has the opportunity to use its position of strength to help the world fight climate change. In October, Norway’s lawmakers will decide whether to back a 25 billion kroner ($2.6 billion) project that would drastically cut emissions from a cement factory and a waste-to-energy power plant. The plan would involve capturing emissions from those two locations, loading the carbon dioxide on to a ship, transporting the compressed gas a few hundred miles to the country’s west coast, and then burying it under the seabed. The $2.6 billion CCS project could lower the cost of the technology and open up a new business opportunity for Norway. As other European countries also look to the technology, the Norwegian shelf could become the place where the emissions are buried.