In other contexts, I have also talked about how Scandinavians value and cherish clean air, water, ....
Yet, I had completely failed to note the contradiction in Norway's image of cleanliness with its tremendously profitable exports--oil and natural gas--which are one hell of a polluter! What a moron, eh? Writes the Economist:
Yet for all its environmental piety, Norway is also a prodigious polluter. Its greenhouse-gas emissions have grown 15% since it adopted the carbon tax. They are still rising, and are likely to continue to do so until 2012, according to Mr Stoltenberg. As it is, Norway spews out more emissions per head than many other countries in Europe. And, in the eyes of many environmentalists, these statistics understate the damage Norway is doing to the atmosphere. It is the world’s third-biggest exporter of gas and fourth-biggest exporter of oil. The process of extracting these fuels from below the North Sea releases some greenhouse gases within Norway itself. But when the oil and gas Norway exports are burned abroad, they generate far more emissions.Maybe Norway's situation is more a philosophical challenge than an economic one. It does remind me of accusations that Mother Teresa was accepting large donations from people who were renowned crooks. Her argument was that she didn't care who dropped what in the donation box!
But seriously, is it ethical to advocate for caring for the environment when the country exports a gazillion barrels of oil every year?
Well, that was a couple of days ago. And that was from a publication that is center-right. Another British publication, the Guardian, which never leans to the right, has an interesting news report--that
Britain's biggest polluting companies are abusing a European emissions trading scheme (ETS) designed to tackle global warming by cashing in their carbon credits in order to bolster ailing balance sheets.The report adds:
The sell-off has helped trigger a collapse in the price of carbon, making it cheaper to burn high-carbon fossil fuels and leading to a fall in the number of clean energy projects.
Nothing makes sense anymore :-(
The EU's emissions trading scheme was set up as a market solution to cut greenhouse gas pollution from industry. Polluters were issued with permits that can be traded between companies and countries as a way of encouraging an overall reduction in carbon output. However, companies are now cashing them in for their own financial benefit.
Up to €1bn-worth of carbon emissions permits are said to have been sold off in recent months as industrial companies see an opportunity to bring in funds at a time when their carbon output is expected to fall due to lower production.