Making Norway Great Again? an in Medias Res Analysis of the Work of the Bridge to the Future Alliance, and Its Unifying Potential in the Struggle for Climate and Jobs.

Tuesday, 17 July 2018: 09:15
Oral Presentation
Andreas YTTERSTAD, Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences, Norway
The US withdrawal from the Paris Agreement is among other things a symptom of the failure of policies and discourses that seek to align worries over global warming with the need to create jobs. It is easy to frown upon the idea that America will become great again by shoring up and stimulating the fossil fuel industry, but Norwegian Climate Change Policy displays much of the same fossil fuel jobs versus climate change policy dilemma. Despite decades of critique from research (Nilsen 2001, Sæther 2017), Norwegian Climate Change hegemony (Ytterstad 2012) continues to exempt the supply of Norwegian Oil and Gas from its mitigation equations. In civil society, by contrast, the focus on the supply side of fossil fuel has gained traction the last five years, notably in the growth of the Climate Election Alliance, supported by more than 60 organizations in Norway. These organizations all support demands which include a “brake” on Norwegian oil and to create at least “100 000 climate jobs now” in a just transition.
Some of this progress can be traced to the Bridge to the Future alliance , which has held four Conferences and four publications (Ytterstad 2013, Ryggvik 2013, Ytterstad 2015, Samfunnsøkonomisk Analyse 2017). As a researcher and activist, the present author has been involved in the development of this unique alliance between environmentalists, faith societies (the Norwegian Church most of all) and parts of the Trade Union Movement. But crucially, and in line with expectations in within environmental labour studies (Räthzel and Uzzell 2012, Hampton 2015), it has not so far been supported by the two most important unions of oil and gas workers.
Can the Bridge to the future alliance win over oil and gas workers to a climate change policy confronting the supply side of Norwegian fossil fuels?