UN researcher slams ‘racist’ Oslo police

A Ugandan UN climate researcher has ”reluctantly” accepted an apology from Oslo police after he was searched on suspicion of drug dealing.

UN researcher slams ‘racist’ Oslo police
Photo: Tony Fouhse/IDRC

Shuaib Lwasa was stopped near the city’s Central Station in October as he stretched his legs during a break in a meeting with Norway’s Climate and Pollution Agency, newspaper Aftenposten reports.

Lwasa, a researcher with the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), said a police officer asked him where he was going and requested that he show identification. Before he had time to answer, the officer went through his pockets as passers-by looked on, the paper said.

Shaken by the incident, Lwasa wrote a complaint to the police demanding a formal apology for the “disrespectful” and “humiliating” encounter.

The Norwegian government’s climate agency also took the police to task, asking if they should now start warning future guests of the risk that they risked falling foul of the forces of law and order.

The police clarified in a letter that it was permitted “in certain situations” to search somebody for their identity papers, but admitted that in this case it was “incorrect and shouldn’t have been carried out.”

Lwasa accepted the subsequent apology but remained angry at what he described as “lies” by the police officer who stopped him on Karl Johans Gate.

The policeman told superiors that he followed Lwasa because he had a bulge in his pocket and appeared concerned when he caught sight of the officer.

“I had my hands in my pocket because it was cold,” Lwasa told Aftenposten.

He added that he had no idea the area around the station was known as a hotbed of drug-dealing activity.

“I asked for the reason he was searching me. He replied that this street was well known to have lots of black people selling drugs. Is that not racist?”

Lwasa said the experience had left him traumatized, adding that he had never experienced anything else like it in all his years of international travel.

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How do Norway’s CO2 emissions compare to other countries?

Norway can be seen as either a relatively green country or one of the worlds largest polluters, depending on whether you include emissions which occur abroad as a result of its oil trade.

Pictured is the chimney of an industrial building emitting fumes. When taking emissions per capita into account Norway is one of the worlds top 20 CO2 producers.
Pictured is the chimney of an industrial building emitting fumes. When taking emissions per capita into account Norway is one of the worlds top 20 CO2 producers. Photo by veeterzy on Unsplash

Norway has long been in the strange juxtaposition of being perceived as one of Europe’s greener countries while being one of the continent’s biggest natural oil and gas producers. 

While most new cars sold in the country are electric, and the coalition government has announced several carbon-cutting goals as part of its government policy platform, the nation of 5.3 million will continue to develop its oil industry and press on with exploration for gas and “black gold”. 

Within its own borders, then Norway is only the world’s 61st biggest CO2 polluter, according to data on the country’s carbon dioxide output provided by climate researchers Cicero and the Global Carbon Project for broadcaster NRK

The country emits 41 million tonnes of CO2 annually, according to figures it submits to the UN. This pales in comparison to the 329 million tonnes released by the UK, the 1.5 billion tonnes emitted by Russia, the 4.7 billion tonnes the USA has reported to the UN, and the more than 10 billion tonnes China discharges.

By this metric, Norway looks to be relatively green. However, when emissions per capita are considered, Norway leapfrogs the UK and China, emitting 7.7 tonnes per person.

These figures don’t consider the environmental impact of the country’s oil and gas trade. Most of the industry’s emissions occur outside of Norway and are therefore not included in the national figures. 

READ ALSO: How will climate change impact Norway?

When emissions released by the oil and gas trade outside of the country’s borders are accounted for then Norway becomes the 17th largest nation in terms of CO2 output. 

Additionally, when emissions produced outside its borders are taken into consideration, carbon dioxide generated per person in Norway jumps from 7.7 tonnes to 93.6. This puts Norway fourth overall, behind oil giants Qatar, Kuwait and Brunei. 

Norway’s petroleum minister, Marte Mjøs Persen, told NRK that the country wasn’t responsible for emissions produced abroad as a result of oil and gas exports. 

“Not according to the Paris Agreement. There we are responsible for the emissions we have in the Norwegian sector,” Persen told NRK.