Climate activists stage protests in Oslo as part of week-long demonstrations

Climate action group Extinction Rebellion blocked off several roads, streets and buildings in Oslo on Tuesday as part of a number of week-long protests in the Norwegian capital. 

Climate activists stage protests in Oslo as part of week-long demonstrations
Extinction Rebellion protestors in Germany in 2019. Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

On Tuesday, climate activism group Extinction Rebellion blocked off the intersection at Frederiks Gate Street and Karl Johans Gate Street by the palace in Oslo and protested outside the Ministry of Climate and Environment as part of a set of week-long demonstrations in the city. 

Around 100 demonstrators, some of who chained themselves together using plastic tubes, were at the intersection near the palace, and police set up roadblocks around the group before moving them on.

The demonstrations are part of what the group has called “non-violent disobedience” to protest the Norwegian government’s decision to continue drilling for oil. 

“We are protesting against the Norwegian government’s decision to drill for more and more oil. It exacerbates an already escalating climate crisis,” the group’s spokesperson told local news site Avisa Oslo

Despite its green ambitions of being climate neutral by 2030 and a “low carbon” society by 2050, the country is still one of the worlds largest exporters of oil and natural gas. 

In addition to this, the country will continue oil drilling, exploration, and production in the coming decades. This, the International Energy Agency, has previously said, is entirely at odds with the global goal of reaching net-zero carbon emissions by 2050

READ MORE: How will climate change impact Norway?

On Monday, 48 people were arrested following protests outside the Ministry of Petroleum and demonstrations in Majorstuen and Grünnerløkka. 

Oslo Police District has so far issued 33 fines of 13,000 kroner. In total, 429,000 korner of fines have been dished out so far. 

The group have said the fines activists pick up will be partially subsidised through fundraising, but members were ultimately responsible for their own fines. 

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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.