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POLLUTION

Norway’s PM pledges to spend 100 million kroner on clearing plastic from oceans

Norway and the World Band will work together to set up a fund to help fight plastic pollution of the world’s oceans.

Norway’s PM pledges to spend 100 million kroner on clearing plastic from oceans
Prime Minister Erna Solberg in Quebec. Photo: Heiko Junge / NTB scanpix

The fund was announced by Prime Minister Erna Solberg in Quebec City on Saturday, newspaper VG reports.

The Norwegian PM was in the capital during the weekend’s G7 talks in the city.

“We are willing to contribute 100 million kroner [10 million euros, ed.] every year,” VG reports the PM as saying to Norwegian media in Quebec on Saturday.

Solberg said that she hoped other countries would join Norway in financially supporting the effort to remove plastic from oceans.

“Popular support for this is huge now. Plastic in the ocean has become symbolic. It’s not just in Norway that we’ve seen whales washed up with their stomach full of plastic,” she said.

The Norwegian PM added that it will take time for other countries to commit themselves to the initiative.

“We spent three years talking about girls and education and not until now is it happening [that other countries have pledged to work towards it],” she said.

Solberg was invited to the G7 meeting to speak about the issue and was the only Nordic head of government to attend the summit.

Norway plans to host a research conference in the coastal city of Bergen later this year which Solberg hopes leading researchers from G7 countries will attend, VG reports.

READ ALSO: Norwegian government to spend millions removing litter from sea

ENVIRONMENT

Norway rules out 2022 oil licences in unexplored areas

Norway will not grant new oil exploration licences in virgin or little-explored areas in 2022 under a political compromise on Monday that hands a modest  victory to opponents of fossil fuels.

Norway rules out 2022 oil licences in unexplored areas
A photo taken on August 30, 2021 shows the Petroleum Museum in Stavanger, Norway, built to show the history of Norway's oil exploration. Norway is the largest producer of hydrocarbons in Western Europe. In the face of the climate emergency, voices are being raised to abandon fossil fuels for good. Petter BERNTSEN / AFP

The Scandinavian country’s governing centre-left coalition supports continuing oil and gas activities but does not have a parliamentary majority, making it reliant on socialist MPs who prioritise green issues.

As part of a compromise on the draft 2022 budget, three parties agreed on Monday that Norway — Western Europe’s largest hydrocarbon producer — would not hold a 26th so-called “ordinary” concession round next year.

This mechanism has allowed oil companies to apply for exploration in previously unexplored areas of the Norwegian continental shelf since 1965.

But the deal does not rule out awarding oil licences in already heavily exploited areas.

Since the North Sea has been extensively explored, the agreement mainly concerns the Barents Sea in the Arctic

The oil industry was a major issue in legislative elections in September, indicating Norway’s growing difficulties in reconciling environmental concerns with exploiting energy resources.

In the 25th concession round in early 2021, only seven oil companies, including Equinor, Shell and Lundin, applied — the lowest number since at least 1978 according to local media.

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