Almost all of Norway’s electricity comes from hydropower and its domestic emissions are relatively low, meaning the country is often perceived as clean and sustainable. Yet this contrasts with the trillions it has accumulated from four decades of producing oil for export, increasing greenhouse gas emissions elsewhere. Norway is the seventh largest exporter of emissions in the world, and its emissions from exported oil and gas are ten times greater than the country’s direct emissions.
This is known as the Norwegian paradox, and on November 4 2020 the country’s supreme court will hear a crucial case that will highlight the issue. Unlike other high-profile climate lawsuits in other jurisdictions that have required governments to take more action, this one focuses on whether the court can direct the government on what action to take – specifically, to stop issuing licenses for further oil exploitation.