Meld. St. 4 (2018–2019)

Long-term plan for research and higher education 2019–2028 — Meld. St. 4 (2018–2019) Report to the Storting (white paper)

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4 Climate, the environment and clean energy

It is a Government objective that Norway will be a driving force in international climate activities and continue to lead the way in renewable energy. Research and education are a key part of the effort to reach the climate targets. Norway has many good academic and research groups in this area, and the Government will maintain and reinforce its focus on research, education and innovation as a basis for developing climate and energy technology.

To succeed in changing behaviour patterns it is necessary to understand why people act the way they do. This requires basic knowledge about values, attitudes, interests and motives, which is knowledge that the humanities subjects are vital in producing. Research targeting the environment and sustainability must therefore incorporate humanities and social sciences perspectives, cf. Meld. St. 25 (2016–2017) The Humanities in Norway.

Human activity is resulting in increased pressure on land area, natural resources and cultural history capital; the spread of alien species; outbreaks of new plant and animal diseases; and more hazardous substances and other kinds of pollution. These problems pose a threat to biodiversity, health and quality of life, and can in some instances be both exacerbated by and contribute to climate change. In order to establish effective measures, it is necessary to assess the overall environmental load. Next to climate change, the loss of biodiversity poses the greatest environmental threat the world is facing today.

The universities and university colleges must provide students with up-to-date knowledge about developments relating to climate change and the environment, as well as the global and local impacts. Interdisciplinary perspectives will be needed to understand complex challenges and design viable measures and solutions. Stronger cooperation between higher education institutions, the business sector and working life is called for to optimise the relevance of educational programmes and simultaneously provide employers with ongoing inspiration from the most recent scientific developments.

Norway is an energy nation, and the Government’s primary objectives are to increase long-term value creation and ensure reliable, cost-effective and sustainable utilisation of Norwegian energy resources. Norway has an excellent starting point with an electricity supply almost exclusively based on renewable energy, a highly functional energy market and wide-ranging access to additional renewable energy resources. Moreover, Norwegian companies and research and education groups have considerable expertise in a number of green technologies.

The Government will:

  • strengthen research efforts for restructuring towards a low-emission society;

  • give priority to developing technology and solutions for the transition to a greener society;

  • strengthen research and higher education that can increase understanding of climate change and lay a foundation for successful climate change adaptation;

  • strengthen research and higher education to further develop an integrated, knowledge-based public administration that safeguards considerations relating to climate and the environment.

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