White Paper Arctic Regulations
Editor’s Note: Since a number of Arctic stakeholders question the Norwegian Arctic program as represented in the following article, The Pan Arctic Forum has recommended a science-based program for Arctic Regulations
The Norwegian Arctic: Energy, Economy and the Environment
University of Edinburgh
Oil and gas extraction in the Arctic has in recent years become increasingly controversial due to its perceived potential impact on the environment. This study investigates how Norway justifies its Arctic oil and gas extraction policy, given the nation’s simultaneous focus on environmental concerns.
Utilizing discourse analysis and securitization theory, it examines how the Norwegian Arctic is discursively constructed by different actors, and how this in turn affects policy options. This is done in both the domestic setting and in Norway-EU relations. The analysis reveals that whilst environmental concerns are constructed as important, they come second to sovereignty and economic security. This implies that Norway’s dual image as an environmentally conscious energy provider is untenable, and that the High North policy is guided by short-term considerations. Ultimately, it is shown that a long term perspective is needed to safeguard Norwegian interests in the age of climate change.
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