Get off the counter and into the climate / Columns / The Foreigner

Get off the counter and into the climate. Just before the old year ended, Norway’s Finance Minister expressed optimism that we can expect some positive economic surprises in this New Year. Can we hope for the same on the environmental front? Recent years brought many environmental surprises--negative ones. 2009 saw the wishes for a new binding treaty on climate change evaporate. 2010 brought the oil industry's worst unintentional spill when a BP drilling rig exploded in the Gulf of Mexico. Norway has no immunity from environmental surprises. Last year witnessed devastating storms, floods, and landslides, across many months in various locations around the country. Trondheim's emergency services had their busiest night ever, responding to storm damage.

climatechange, eurozoneloannorway



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Get off the counter and into the climate

Published on Thursday, 5th January, 2012 at 09:38 under the columns category, by Ilan Kelman.

Just before the old year ended, Norway’s Finance Minister expressed optimism that we can expect some positive economic surprises in this New Year. Can we hope for the same on the environmental front?

Uncut sheet of 200-kroner notes
Uncut sheet of 200-kroner notes
Photo: Katrine Lunke/Norges Bank


Recent years brought many environmental surprises--negative ones. 2009 saw the wishes for a new binding treaty on climate change evaporate. 2010 brought the oil industry's worst unintentional spill when a BP drilling rig exploded in the Gulf of Mexico.

Norway has no immunity from environmental surprises. Last year witnessed devastating storms, floods, and landslides, across many months in various locations around the country. Trondheim's emergency services had their busiest night ever, responding to storm damage.

What can be done? Norway generously offered 55 billion kroner in loans for the Eurozone crisis, a straightforward way of helping out neighbours to whom we are intricately linked in a time of need.

It should not cost Norwegian taxpayers any money in theory. Hopefully, the loan will be paid back with interest--presumably not beyond fair market rates.

Perhaps we should treat the environment with as much respect as we treat the economy, then. It is, after all, experiencing far worse devastation.

So where is the crisis-busting 55 billion kroner generosity for local environmental organisations, environmental journalism, and environmental research? It is a time of need for the environment to which we are also intricately linked.

The money would be a loan too, to be paid back with interest like the Eurozone one. The payback would be huge if we could actually achieve sustainability goals. There would be fewer disasters, decreased health problems from pollution, and more local businesses generating employment, for example.

Rather than costing 55 billion kroner, it would be an investment; earning Norway an interest rate far exceeding what any bank would pay.

As we would profit immensely from this, is it not perhaps time to nurture the environment instead of just the economy?

Happy 2012!

Dr. Ilan Kelman is a Senior Research Fellow at the Center for International Climate and Environmental Research - Oslo (CICERO).




Published on Thursday, 5th January, 2012 at 09:38 under the columns category, by Ilan Kelman.

This post has the following tags: climatechange, eurozoneloannorway.





  
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