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Opening speech at Nor-Shipping

Prime Minister Erna Solberg's opening speech at the Nor-Shipping conference in Lillestrøm, 4 June 2019.

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Your Royal Highness,
Excellencies,
Ladies and gentlemen,

We live in uncertain times, and we are facing multiple challenges – from hunger and poverty to climate change.

I believe that many of the solutions to these challenges can be found in the ocean.

From job creation to energy, health and nutrition – the potential of the ocean is tremendous.

At the same time, we will not be able to unleash the potential of the oceans if we fail to keep them clean.

Human activities are putting pressure on ecosystems and services that are fundamental to our well-being.

Overfishing, marine pollution and climate change are causing unprecedented changes.

But if we manage to strike the right balance, we can show that there need not be a contradiction between protection and production. 

As a coastal state, Norway depends on the income generated by the exploitation of marine resources. Our prosperity depends on the sustainable use of the oceans.

Yesterday, my Government presented its updated ocean strategy, which reaffirms Norway’s priorities in this area.

In the time ahead, our ocean policy will focus more strongly on three specific areas:

  • Skills and digitalisation;
  • Value creation along the entire Norwegian coast; and
  • Climate change and green shipping.

The maritime industry is undergoing rapid change. It has every opportunity to be at the forefront of new technology development and to become a key player in reducing emissions.

For years, the industry has invested in knowledge and new technology to meet demands from customers and society.

New challenges have, in effect, led to competitive advantages, not least for innovative and proactive supplier industries.

We still have great aspirations for our maritime industry. We are determined to continue developing safe, reliable, sustainable and cost-effective services.

Reducing carbon emissions in the maritime industry will not only reduce our overall domestic emissions, but also build global competitiveness in this growth segment.

It is with this in view that my Government will soon launch an action plan for green shipping.

More than 80 % of the goods in global trade are transported by sea.

Reducing the environmental burden from shipping will therefore also strengthen the role of shipping in trade.

Our ambition is to cut greenhouse gas emissions from domestic shipping and fishing by 50 % by 2030 – compared to 2005 levels.  

Our experience is that investments in green shipping pay off.

These investments are not just good for the environment, but also for employment and the economy.

Norway started early with vessels fuelled by liquefied gas.

This has sparked technology development, reduced air pollution and created an international market.  More than 300 vessels are now in operation – or on order – globally.

Our first electric car ferry – Ampere – was launched in 2014.

This technology was developed in response to the commission for an emission-free ferry.  

By 2022, there will be about 70 battery-powered ferries in Norwegian waters – one third of the world’s total.

But we must remember that we also need to develop third and fourth generation technology, even while the first and second generations are still in their infancy.    

That is why we will have car ferries with hydrogen-electric propulsion in place as early as 2021.

It is clear that green requirements do not kill jobs – but rather create jobs. That should encourage us all.   

We will promote the introduction of low- and zero emission solutions in all shipping segments. And we are confident that our pioneering policy will inspire similar development in other countries.

However, national action must be followed up by international action. Here too, there is good news to report.

In 2018, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) negotiated a historic agreement on reducing emissions. This step was as brave as it was necessary. 

Norway and the IMO will work together to support developing countries in reducing emissions from ships.

We know that addressing climate change and ensuring a sustainable ocean economy requires action from those in a position to act.

That is why I have invited 13 world leaders to join me in the High-level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy.        

The panel will present a roadmap for a sustainable ocean economy, and will report to the UN Ocean Conference next year.

Meanwhile, Norway will host the Our Ocean conference in Oslo in October this year.

The nexus between climate change and the oceans will be one of the areas in focus.

Norway's experience of combining protection and production – from fishing to shipping – strengthens our belief that sustainable use of the ocean is possible.

That the full potential of our oceans can be unleashed.   

But for this to happen, we must press on with concrete climate action.    

I hope we can all find inspiration in what parts of the maritime industry have achieved so far.

Thank you.

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