StatoilHydro Chief: higher price on CO2 needed

Helge Lund. Photo: Dag Myrestrand / StatoilHydro.

“Raising the cost of CO2 can speed up development of technologies that reduce carbon emissions,” StatoilHydro CEO Helge Lund said at the fourth Zero Emission Conference in Oslo on Monday, Sept. 28.

The Zero Emission Conference is the biggest annual meeting place in Norway for everyone working with climate change issues.  “As an industry leader, I am aware of only one solution which can yield results quickly enough – placing a high price on carbon dioxide,” Lund told participants.

Realistic perspective

A realistic energy perspective is imperative. “Energy demand is set to increase by 40 to 50% during the next few decades, mostly driven by population growth and a rising global standard of living. Access to energy is crucial to economic development,” he commented.

There’s no doubt hydrocarbons will remain the world’s main source of energy for years to come, but that does not preclude development of alternatives. “Renewable energy will play an important role in the longer term, but technological breakthroughs cannot be ordained. This is a young industry, which calls for major investment and much technology development to become efficient and competitive. It will take time, as it has for all other industries,” Lund said

Understanding the complexity

StatoilHydro’s CEO recently attended the UN climate summit in New York City. All UN summit participants seemed to agree that the challenges are complex and demanding and that finding sustainable solutions is a matter of urgency. “The world is facing a climate and an energy challenge and no compromise exists between the two. Genuine dilemmas must be resolved by finding solutions to both challenges simultaneously. If not, we risk failing to meet both the climate and the energy challenge,” Lund asserted.

Lund urges placing a higher price on CO2 as the only solution that would bring about sufficient results because production would become more efficient and energy forms releasing less carbon dioxide would become more competitive. “If the global price of carbon dioxide is sufficiently high, technology development will be encouraged in companies and significant contributions towards reducing emissions will be made,” he said.

A new global framework must take into account the fact that contribution opportunities vary from country to country. “The wealthier part of the world must be prepared to accept a larger share of the cost. This perspective makes a solution even more demanding,” commented Lund.


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