Norway: ‘Our Energy Sector Rocks!’ With a Side of Green Guilt

I am back, and an all-new Morning Jolt will be hitting your e-mailboxes later this morning. (This assumes, of course, you subscribe.) As you might expect, I go over some of the highlights of the cruise, including this observation about how Norway handles the dissonence of thinking of themselves as good, environmentally-conscious green Europeans while simultaneously being a major oil and natural gas exporter and a much wealthier country because of it: 

  • Offhand comment from Jay Nordlinger, responding to [MEP Daniel] Hannan, paraphrased: This is the Golden Age for environmentalists,  at least in the United States: carbon emissions are down, economic production is down, commuting is down, we’re less materialistic because we can afford less… Hey, they’re getting what they’ve been demanding all these years.


  • One of our stops was the Oil Museum in Stavenger, Norway, a lot more fascinating than I expected. Drilling, pumping, and exporting oil has generated $1 trillion in revenue for the Norwegians since discovery in the 1970s, in a country of less than 6 million people.  One trillion! For perspective, that’s one-seventeenth of our national debt!) The museum has you go through it in a sequence, beginning with the discovery and then walking you through the exploration process, the equipment used, life for the deep-sea divers, and so on.  The first two-thirds or so showcase all this with great detail and great pride, showcasing their enormous difficulties of the North Sea and the amazing engineering and massive rigs – basically floating cities – built and maintained in extremely tough environments. The tone is, “We are the heirs of the Vikings! This is extremely hard to do, and we do it well! We rock! We are awesome!” … And then for the last third of  the museum the focus turns to…  global warming. We learn that everything you just saw described with great pride is terrible and destroying the planet. This portion of the exhibit begins with the definition of a dilemma and goes through all the alternatives – and how they have flaws as well – nuclear power generates nuclear waste, wind power can endanger wildlife, and so on. It almost came out and asserted that environmentalists can find problems in any energy option and are basically a bunch of whiners.

  • Halliburton is among those thanked by the door of the museum.

Considering how some continue to demonize the fracking revolution that is more or less the lone bright spot in our current economy, Norway’s contradictory attitudes seemed relevant… Perhaps someday the United States will have a Museum of Fracking, with its own separate wing of how terrible it all is…

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