FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Silje Lundberg, North Sea Campaign Manager, Oil Change International, firstname.lastname@example.org
Bente Lorentzen, Lead Organizer, Folkeaksjonen: People’s Action for an Oil-Free Lofoten, Vesterålen, and Senja, email@example.com
Oil drilling ban in Lofoten sets precedent for high-income, fossil fuel producing countries to manage their decline of fossil fuel production
Svolvær, Norway — This weekend, The People’s Action for an Oil-Free Lofoten, Vesterålen, and Senja, Folkeaksjonen, is closing the chapter on a successful decades’ long campaign to protect the area’s waters from oil drilling. The victory is a first step for Norway and other wealthy fossil fuel producers around the world that must lead in ending all new fossil fuel development and manage a decline of existing production.
In 2017, over 600 organizations across 76 countries signed the Lofoten Declaration, urging Norway and other high-income fossil fuel producing countries to lead the ongoing transition toward a renewable energy economy, phase-out existing fossil fuel production, and stop all new exploration for fossil fuels.
But recent analysis reveals that governments are continuing to double-down on new fossil fuel projects; from 2012-2022, the Norwegian government awarded 700 oil and gas exploration licenses. And just this week, the United Kingdom announced its plans to award over one hundred new oil and gas licenses in the North Sea. These actions are incompatible with limiting global warming to 1.5°C and maintaining a safe and livable future for all.
As countries continue to make glossy promises to end new financing for fossil fuels, they must also take credible action by developing firm policies to protect areas from new oil and gas exploration. This victory in Lofoten, Vesterålen, and Senja is a great example for how countries can participate in the oncoming energy transition and managed decline away from fossil fuels. The next logical step is for countries to follow the success of the Folkeaksjonen, and stop all new oil and gas exploration, protecting our lands, waters, communities, and climate.
Silje Lundberg, North Sea Campaign Manager at Oil Change International, said:
“The tireless work from frontline communities and more than a decade of grassroots organizing was what shut the door for oil production outside the Lofoten islands. But – the fight against fossil fuels doesn’t end with Lofoten, if anything it shows how important it is to keep up the pressure on oil producing countries, especially the wealthy countries around the North Sea, to limit their production. The next step the Norwegian Government needs to take is to stop all new licensing and new production, and the Lofoten win shows us that it’s possible.”
Bente Lorentzen, Lead Organizer for Folkeaksjonen: People’s Action for an Oil-Free Lofoten, Vesterålen, and Senja, said:
“The victory is historic and will have a significant impact for other national and international campaigns working for change in climate policy. The People’s Action has managed what no one thought was possible. That the oil-rich nation of Norway will keep its oil and gas beneath the seabed for the benefit of fishing, the climate, and nature is an enormously important signal to the rest of the world which is already struggling with the consequences of climate change, as well as for the preservation of fisheries and nature.”
- The Lofoten Declaration was drafted and signed in 2017 during the ongoing campaign to protect the region from oil drilling. The declaration affirms that it is the responsibility and moral obligation of wealthy fossil fuel producers to lead in ending fossil fuel development and manage the decline of existing production. The full declaration can be found here.
- A recent report from Oil Change International revealed that Norway was Europe’s most aggressive oil and gas explorer from 2012 to 2022, awarding as many licenses in the ten years as it had collectively previously from 1965 to 2022. The full report can be found here.