FNI Report 13/2005. Lysaker, FNI, 2005, 93 p. In Norwegian.
The petroleum sector is the largest industry in Norway. The main reason why Norway is out of line for reaching it’s commitment to the Kyoto protocol is the fast growing emissions of greenhouse gases from this sector. This report gives an assessment of how climate concerns are treated in the development of Norwegian petroleum policy. It aims is to answer the following questions 1) How and to what degree were climate concerns organised into the decision processes concerning petroleum policy in the period 1997 to 2004? and 2) Why were climate concerns organised into the decision processes in such a way? The focus is on the role of the Norwegian Ministry of Oil and Energy, the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate, the Norwegian Ministry of Environment and the Norwegian Pollution Control Authority. The licensing rounds through which permission for exploration on the Norwegian Continental Shelf are given and the plans for development of oil and gas fields from the period 1997 to 2994 are examined thoroughly. In addition, a range of former ministers and civil servants are interviewed. The report concludes that climate concern is ignored when the production licenses are announced, that it is potentially present when the production licenses are awarded and that it is organised into the processes to a minor degree when the plans for development of oil and gas fields are handled. The reasons for this are several. The petroleum policy is depoliticised. Most decisions are defined as technicalities and therefore left to the experts to decide upon. On the contrary, climate issues are defined as highly political which thus ought to be handled by the politicians. This imbalance makes it hard for political leaders to take climate concerns into consideration when they govern. The parties in Government have set out conflicting objectives in the petroleum policy and have not given any guidelines on how climate concerns are to be treated. Due to lack of formal rules regarding climate concerns, the informal norms in the organisations become important. As climate concerns are not incorporated in the organisations scrutinized, such concerns will seldom be regarded when decisions are made. This is underpinned by the fact that the Ministry for Oil and Energy and the Petroleum Directorate have a much larger power basis than the environmental administration.