Your Royal Highness Haakon Magnus, Crown Prince of Norway.
Ni Sa Bula Vinaka Saka and humble greetings of welcome to our home of Fiji.
No doubt you will be enjoying the flavour of our island home and the many sights, sounds of our paradise.
As you meet with the Government officials with your busy schedule set out for the day, there is but one modest request.
The Fiji Prime Minister has stated in his welcome address that Fiji and Norway “may seem to be polar opposites.” But climate change brings us closer together. Unfettered carbon emissions from one part of the globe presents trans-boundary challenges and climate insecurity in another. Distance is no longer a barrier where carbon emissions are concerned. The ocean also connects the tyranny of distance and is the highway that links the contagion of the excesses of carbon, as we can already see from coral bleaching in many coral reef systems.
While many like me applaud Norway as one of the first industrialised nations to formally ratify the Paris Agreement, we also know that it is also actively involved in further opening up its part of the Arctic for oil and gas exploration. This would essentially undermine the Paris Agreement’s decarbonisation goal.
Oil drilling in the Arctic not only runs foul of the Paris Agreement, but also Norway’s own constitution §1121, which states that the “State of Norway shall ensure future generations the right to a safe and healthy environment.”
The Fiji Constitution is supposed to guarantee similar rights in section 40.
Norway’s $1T largest sovereign wealth fund has also announced ground-breaking investments in renewable energy not listed on stock markets, and an intention to divest from coal companies. This is very welcome.
As you leave our shores Your Royal Highness, may we respectfully plead that Norway helps us in the Pacific to retain our proud, rich place in the world, by moving swiftly to eliminate exported emissions and de-escalate fossil fuel extraction.