No one benefits from a debate where opposing parties refuse to talk to each other. In such cases there is not only something wrong with the debate, there is also something wrong with the debaters. Last autumn Bellona leader Frederic Hauge proclaimed that he would boycott the Minister of Petroleum and Energy. This boycott is ill-advised.
The environmental debate needs more dialogue, not less. Fortunately, there are plenty of pragmatic and solution-oriented players in the global environmental movement.
I am CEO of a company extracting fossil fuels.
"You cannot be in this business without having an awareness of the environmental aspects."
Bayerngas Norge is owned by German, Swiss and Austrian municipal companies. Our owners want a realistic alternative to coal and nuclear power while they participate in the development of alternative energy sources to satisfactory levels. They seek feasible ways to phase in renewables, and deem natural gas to be the best option. This is because the power output from gas plants can be easily adjusted up and down, thus leveling out the unsteady output from renewables such as wind and solar. In this way, natural gas aids in making renewables a feasible energy source.
The environmental movement, especially globally, is broad and diverse. The global environment campaigner WWF, German Greenpeace and the German Green Party all state that increased use of natural gas is a significant step towards amending the problem of global warming, in particular because it will reduce demand after coal, the dirtiest of all fossil fuels
The petroleum business produces commodities that are requested by people all over the world but petroleum is negative to the environment. One must be able to keep these two things in mind at the same time. Petroleum reduces world poverty. And it is a fact that the world’s growing energy demand cannot be met by renewables. Not yet. Until that day comes, we must choose the best, most feasible alternative.
When WWF, Greenpeace and the Green Party tell us that Norwegian natural gas contributes to significant reductions in CO2 emissions in Germany, they display a global mindset which is healthy both for the environment and for the debate. Their voice is important for the discussion about our future. Some Norwegian activists, such as Bellona, could probably learn from the German environmentalists, and the other way around. Dialogue is the best way forward.
What are your thoughts on energy and the environment?