Indonesia’s Palm Oil Wealth Funds to Save Wolves in Norway
- Indonesia, the world’s largest palm oil producer has pledged to allocate a portion of its palm oil wealth funds towards saving habitats for wolves in Norway
- The actual value of the pledge is not known at this time as Indonesia is working on calculations based on the previous Indonesia-Norway REDD agreement to save Indonesian forests
- The Indonesian Ministry in charge of the program which is yet to be endorsed by both countries was unequivocal that this was needed to protect biodiversity in Norway.
“We have noted with great concern that Norway’s continued emissions from its fossil fuel industry continues with little regard for the climate change it is causing.
However, we are most concerned about the extinction of Norwegian wolves which number only in the dozens. We do however respectfully acknowledge the problems of Norwegian sheep farmers in the losses of their sheep due to wolf attacks.
We feel that having secured the future of orangutans due to a successful conservation program that protects agriculture production with a strong element of protecting endangered wildlife, that this model can be applied to Norway where wolves as a key element of Norwegian biodiversity can co-exist with sheep farmers.”
The Indonesian proposal to save Norwegian biodiversity has caused much indignation in Norway which champions itself as a protector of biodiversity in other countries but not its own.
The thing is, Norway ranks sixth in the world in a list of Top 20 Richest Countries. The country has a GDP (PPP) per capita of $65,800. The Norwegian economy relies heavily on the country’s natural resources, with petroleum and natural gas, timber, fishing and mining among its major industries.
Its massive sovereign wealth fund which was accumulated over decades of fossil fuel exports is now valued at $1.4 trillion dollars, giving the Norwegian Sovereign Wealth Fund great influence in the stock markets and beyond. This can be seen in a pandemic stricken time where the wealth fund gained £90bn during 2020 – equal to £170,000 for each Norwegian.
Some Norwegian youth have been alarmed at Norway’s contributions to climate change. The young Norwegians with the backing of Greenpeace sued Norway in an attempt to hold the country accountable for its fossil fuel emissions.
Unfortunately this legal action which was later joined by elder Norwegians was rejected by Norwegian courts which favored the fossil fuel industry.
“The Nature and Youth advocacy group denounced the ruling in a tweet: "This means today's youth lacks fundamental legal protection from environmental damage jeopardizing our future... This is shocking and we are furious."
The failure of the Norwegian government to provide a healthy environment for the youth of the future is a nonissue for Norway’s government and courts.
Prior to its election in 2021, at a time when COP26 made global headlines, the Eurasia Group wrote a great backgrounder on fossil fuels and Norway.
“Fossil fuels helped to catapult Norway from a stable but small fishing and timber economy into one of the wealthiest and most progressive welfare states in the world.
Now, climate change is forcing the country to consider slaughtering its cash cow/golden goose (pick your preferred animal metaphor) in exchange for living up to its environmental ambitions, as an estimated 3 million Norwegians head to the polls on Sept. 13 in a parliamentary election that has centered on the issue of whether saving the planet is worth stopping the fossil fuel gravy train.”
Unfortunately for the global fight against climate change, the majority of Norwegians gave the newly elected government a free hand to further add to the emissions of Norwegian fossil fuels.
Boosted by the election results, which further damns the hope of Norwegian youth for a healthy environment, the head of Norway's sovereign wealth fund has said it will not divest the billions of dollars invested in oil and gas companies.
“Selling these companies would not solve the problem of transitioning to greener energy, Nicolai Tangen told BBC News's Hardtalk programme's Stephen Sackur.
And it was "much more powerful to be an active owner and have a constructive dialogue with these companies".
This is a peculiar position from the Norwegian Sovereign Fund. If staying on as an active owner of companies that have been blamed for climate change is more powerful, the Fund should not have divested its shares in palm oil producing companies. In doing so, Norway has removed itself from any position of influence on these companies.
Palm oil producing countries like Malaysia have further said that any negative actions against palm oil, like a ban or a divestment could have worse consequences for forests and biodiversity in producing countries. This is supported by influential global groups like the World Economic Forum which stated that the EU ban on palm oil could do more harm than good.
According to a spokesperson from the Indonesian Palm Oil Save Norwegian Wolves initiative, the European ambitions to protect biodiversity worldwide is floundering.
“We hope they can learn from Indonesia. We are at once, the biggest producer of palm oil and a source of metals for renewable electricity. Yet we can still count over 50% forest canopy with an orangutan population close to 100,000 animals.
The disparity between Norway and Indonesia can also be seen in the GDP per capita where Norway has $68,000.00 compared to Indonesia at $4,000.00
So it is clear that Norway has become wealthy at an extreme cost to their natural environment and threaten other countries with their fossil fuel emissions. This is not sustainable and gives us great concerns for the survival of Norwegian nature.
For this reason, we are proposing this Indonesian Save The Norwegian Wolves initiative as the Norwegians struggle to find a balance between their economy and ecology."
This is a satire mixing fiction (in the fictional Indonesian Save the Norwegian Wolves Initiative) and facts on how Norway refuses to own its contribution to climate change.
Published January 2022. CSPO Watch