Studies Show Norwegians Prioritize the Environment Over Oil

An oil platform in Tromsø, Norway. Oil is Norway's biggest export by a large percentage. Photo credit:
An oil platform in Tromsø, Norway. Oil is Norway's biggest export by a large percentage. Photo credit:

Norway is endowed with numerous natural resources, including oil. It leads the world in the export of petroleum and oil products. Crude oil and natural gas contribute about 40% of the country's total value of exports and contributes about 17% to the GDP. Like all oil producers around the world, Norway faces the challenge of environmental pollution caused by the production, consumption, and export of oil and its related products. The Norwegian government has introduced various measures to deal with carbon emissions including being a signatory of various bilateral and multilateral pacts relating to environmental protection. The country has, for example, ratified the Kyoto Protocol, and has even introduced goals above the protocol standard to be achieved by 2020.

To Most Norwegians, the Environment Comes First

An opinion poll by Ipsos marketing Research Company indicates that most of the Norwegians would prefer a cut in domestic oil production if it meant protecting the environment. According to the Business Insider, the research organization found that most of the respondents prefer curbing oil production to reduce the negative effects on the environment. From the survey, 44% of the respondents supported curbing domestic oil production while 42% were against curbing the production. 15% of the respondents were undecided. This makes Norway one of the first countries worldwide to show a strong commitment to environmental protection, even if it means a slash in profit.

Stunting Oil Production Favored by Younger Population

Further details revealed from the survey indicate that most of the individuals who were against curbing the oil production were of the older generation (above 40 years), while most of the supporters were from the younger generation. When it comes to gender, 52% of women and 36% of men would support curbing oil production while 29% of women and 54% men would reject it. According to the opinion poll, should younger people stick to their opinion, then more people would be in support of curbing the oil production than those who are against.

The supporters of the opinion poll results indicate their pleasure at the fact that more people are more conscious of the importance of environmental protection and preservation. The support for curbing oil production indicates an increased awareness in the prioritization of environmental benefits unlike the financial benefits of oil production. However, those against the connotations of the survey argue that the oil production in Norway is both safe and environmentally friendly when compared to other oil producing countries. The critics also challenge the general assumption made that curbing oil production locally will help to offset the global output.


Benjamin Elisha Sawe is a writer based in Kenya. He holds an MBA from the University of Nairobi.


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