History shows how energy and foreign policy issues have been closely intertwined. There is little doubt that this relationship will continue to strengthen in line with increased instability in the international political system. I do not need to say more than Ukraine/Russia and the Middle East to underline this point. For Norway, energy diplomacy is higher than ever on the priority scale. This recognizes that to understand and act in a rapidly changing energy world, there is a need to understand how market and foreign policy factors interact.
Some see low fuel prices as good news, but there are many downsides. With driving becoming less costly, more cars and trucks could be on the road, which is good for the auto industry but bad in terms of pollution, climate change and traffic accidents. And because the price of oil is now lower than the cost to extract oilsands bitumen, the industry is starting to put the brakes on rapid expansion plans -- bad news for workers and businesses in Fort McMurray and those heavily invested in the industry but good news for the planet.
According to the Oil & Gas Journal (OGJ), Norway had 5.83 billion barrels of proven crude oil reserves as of January 1, 2014, the largest oil reserves in Western Europe. The enormous income to the state from the industry made it possible to create a global pension fund that now owns more than one per cent of global share value.
A celebration of our history brings us to reflect on the present. There are certain questions we must ask ourselves. What challenges do Norway, Canada, and other like-minded countries face in our efforts, for example, to promote democracy, protect, and live in an inclusive society with equal rights and non-discriminatory practices? What is our role in the global picture?
There's no doubt that electric cars are hot. From the beginning of 2012 to the beginning of 2014, the number of them on the road around the world quadrupled from 100,000 to 400,000. When you look at the numbers, though, it turns out that subsidizing electric cars is an extremely inefficient way of curbing GHGs. In other words, it costs a lot to reduce a little.
The only way to fight ocean acidification is through a reduction in the global level of CO2 emissions. It is vital for Norway and other key players that the climate summit in Paris next year is successful. Norway is committed to the process and to achieving an ambitious outcome as we work towards the two-degree target and a low carbon society.
Cooperation between Arctic stakeholders is crucial for each country's success in dealing with climate change. We are in a new era of sustainable development as the Arctic presents us with major opportunities and major responsibilities. Cooperation is the only tool to ensure ethical, social, and ecological sustainable development.
In Norway, 1814 is known by many as "The Year of Miracles" because of the huge national and political changes that suddenly and rapidly took place that year. 1814 is the starting point for modern Norwegian democracy. It had both a national and a democratic element: independence for the state of Norway and liberty for Norwegian citizens
Is domestic terrorism, instigated by white supremacists, such as Breivik, on the rise? Recently, more incidents of hate crimes are reported to be taking place, with alarming frequency. There have been at least seven reports of hate crimes targeting Muslims and mosques in the last 10 days in the United States. Here in Canada we look down at the U.S. and say, "well, everything is worse down there, more guns, more violence, more racism." Not so fast. According to Statistics Canada figures from 2009, the frequency of hate crimes are up.
While it recently played host to the Oslo Freedom Forum, Norway's capital is gripped by the Anders Breivik trial. What happens at the Breivik trial has a bearing on the libertarian and humanitarian values that underly the Forum -- one that is neither left wing nor right win, and has highlighted oppression and dissident courage in places as various as China, Singapore, Turkish Kurdistan, India and Sudan.