HELSINKI (AP) — Norway’s prime minister-designate on Wednesday presented his proposal for a two-party, center-left minority government that is pledging to pursue “a fair climate policy that cuts emissions and creates jobs.”
Jonas Gahr Stoere, the leader of Norway’s center-left Labor Party, unveiled his plans for a new Cabinet that is to take office this week after Norway's left-leaning bloc won last month’s parliamentary election.
The 61-year-old Gahr Stoere, who was formally asked by King Harald V to form a government on Tuesday, is poised to become prime minister of a government that includes the eurosceptic Center Party.
He will take over Thursday from the Conservative Party’s Prime Minister Erna Solberg, who was ousted in the Sept. 13 election after two four-year terms.
Gahr Stoere and Trygve Slagsvold Vedum, the leader of the Center Party that is Norway’s third largest, unveiled a 83-page policy program for 2021-2025 where climate and the environment are among key areas.
“The climate crisis is the biggest challenge of our time,” the Labor Party said. “Climate and nature must be a framework around all politics. Norway’s ambitious climate goals commit the entire government and all parts of society.”
Picks for ministerial portfolios are to be made public Thursday but Slagsvold Vedum is widely expected to become Norway's next finance minister.
In the September vote, the Labor Party and its two left-leaning allies — the Socialist Left and the Center Party — grabbed 100 seats in the 169-seat Stortinget assembly while the center-right government of Erna Solberg got 68. The last seat was taken by a northern Norway health-focused protest party, Pasientfokus.
The Labor Party -- the largest party in non-European Union member Norway -- won the election with 26.3% of the vote while the Center Party finished third with 20.4%.
Gahr Stoere wanted to form a majority government with all three left-leaning parties but failed to do so after talks also involving the Socialist Left collapsed due to disagreements on climate policy, in particular Norway’s oil industry, and taxation.
The oil industry is Scandinavian nation’s biggest industry and is responsible for over 40% of exports and directly employs more than 5% of the workforce. North Sea oil and gas has helped make Norway one of the world’s wealthiest countries.
The new center-left Cabinet would continue oil exploration efforts and “permits will continue to be granted to search for oil and gas in new areas," the government program said.
Most of the country’s oil and gas still comes from mature areas in the North Sea, but most of the untapped reserves are in the Barents Sea, above the Arctic Circle — a red line for environmentalistss.
On the other hand, Norwegians are among the most climate-conscious consumers in the world, with most new car purchases now being electric.
Follow all AP stories on climate change issues at https://apnews.com/hub/climate-change.