Crown Prince of Norway to make first visit to Samoa

The Crown Prince of the Kingdom of Norway, Haakon Magnus, will be in Samoa on for a two-day visit this week following his trips to Tonga and Fiji. 

Scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday, Samoa is the final Pacific stop for Crown Prince Haakon. 

He is accompanied by a delegation, and will visit the Head of State, His Highness Tuimalealiifano Vaaletoa Sualauvi II and Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sa'ilele Malielegaoi, including the Vaisigano Bridge Project and Moata’a Mangroves.

In Tonga, Crown Prince Haakon said the Pacific and Norway are connected by the impact of climate change on the ocean.

“In Norway where I am from it is cold but our glaciers are melting, the ice is melting up north and the connection to here where the sea is rising is apparent. So the work is interconnected that way,” he said.

Norway has been endeavoring to be an international leader in the climate change space. It ranks 14th on the Environmental Performance Index with a score of 77.59 out of 100. Switzerland is ranked 1st with an 87.42 score, and has an ambitious goal of becoming carbon neutral in 2030.

The main industry in Norway is the production of oil and gas. These industries finance the manufacturing and welfare systems and even the government pension fund. It is the third largest exporter of natural gas, and actually exports more oil and gas than it consumes.

But on Sunday, two international reports announced blows to that industry, with Bloomberg reporting Norway’s opposition Labour party will no longer push for oil exploration offshore of Norway’s arctic.

Bloomberg’s Mikael Holter writes the move adds to growing uncertainly about how much support the oil industry can expect from politicians going forward.

And the world’s largest sovereign oil fund of US$1 trillion (T$2.6 trillion) in Norway will begin investing in renewable energy over oil, according to the Guardian’s Damian Carrington.

“Norway’s government gave the go-ahead on Friday for its fund to invest in renewable energy projects that are not listed on stock markets. Unlisted projects make up more than two-thirds of the whole renewable infrastructure market, which is worth trillions of dollars,” Mr Carrington reports.

In March, Norway announced divestment from 134 oil and gas companies, with the exception of BP and Shell who hold renewable energy divisions.

In a Guardian report, Greenpeace UK’s oil campaigner, Charlie Kronick, said the divestment was welcome, but “not enough to mitigate Norway’s exposure to both global oil and gas prices and the wider financial ramifications of climate change.

“However, it does send a clear signal that companies betting on the expansion of their oil and gas businesses present an unacceptable risk, not only to the climate but also to investors."

According to the Samoan Government, the Crown Prince’s visit is intended to strengthen Norway’s relationships with Pacific Island States, and promote common interests such as the oceans, climate change, peace and security.

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