Prioritizing oceans and energy efficiency

The Norwegian Minister of Education and Research, Kristin Clemet, supports a strengthening of marine research and sustainable energy systems within the EU’s 7th Framework Programme on Research and Development. The EU will propose the new Framework Programme on 6 April.

15/02/2006 :: Minister Clemet will meet with Commissioner for Science and Research, Janez Potočnik, on 14 March in Brussels, to discuss the content of the next Framework Programme for Research.

On 18 February Minister Clemet sent a letter to Commissioner Potočnik highlighting Norway’s input to the planning of the program.

“The oceans play a dominant role in the functioning of the climate and the ecosystems. At the same time, the marine environment is in part highly strained and therefore vulnerable to future exploitation of its natural resources,” Clemet said in the letter.

Clemet points to fragmentation and a “lack of cohesion and vision” as major obstacles to European marine research, seeing a focus on oceans as key to developing sustainable management of marine resources.

A strengthened effort towards marine research is essential to achieve an understanding of the ecosystem, and, consequently, advancing more efficient and environmentally friendly technologies for resource management.

In accordance with the 2000 Green Paper the EU aims to increase Europe’s energy efficiency. Norway considers the Commission’s focus on renewable energy sources as a vital step towards a “sustainable energy future for Europe”.

Nonetheless, with a current energy consumption of 80 per cent the EU will continue to rely on oil and gas as main sources of energy for a long time onwards. Norway therefore stresses the importance of petroleum research and development, and the need to find, develop, and produce new petroleum resources to sustain Europe’s continued energy needs.

Europe’s energy consumption is closely related to a demand for the capture, safe storage and use of CO2, needed to confront the challenge of CO” emissions, which Clemet finds to be an important emphasis in light of the Kyoto discussions.

“Even if the main responsibility for petroleum research rests with the industry itself, it is our experience that public spending triggers significant added research and development in the oil and gas industry,” Clemet said.

“We also believe there is a particular need for public funding of long-term basic research in this area,” she added.



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