Norway Announces Taxes on Own Oil Industry: Seething US Congress Lashes Out

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In a rare show of national pride, the Government of Norway this week announced a doubling of taxes on carbon dioxide emissions from it’s own oil-industry, citing the ‘absurd, anti-science’ US Congress as motivation.

“We’ve looked aghast at the the American legislative branch this year”, said Bård Vegar Solhjell, minister of the environment, “and, based on their recent, absurd votes in favor of coal, oil, and lung cancer, we knew that American leadership for a better world is, sadly, dead.”

Norway will nearly double the carbon dioxide tax rate for its offshore oil and gas production in 2013, the country’s environment ministry announced last week.  By raising the tax rate from 210 Norwegian Krone to 410 Krone (or €28 to more than €55) per ton of CO2, the Norwegian government is setting one of the highest carbon tax rates in the world.

Citing recent US Congressional efforts to ban regulations of  CO2 emissions and mercury  as “the single dumbest-ass things we’ve ever heard of”,  Solhfjell said,  “US  Congressional leaders may get  huge financial contributions from the US oil and gas industries but – call us freaks – we here in Scandanavia think our children’s health and welfare, and the livability of our planet, is more important”.

The Norweigan plan to tax its own oil industry comes as a growing number of European nations are planning similar moves in response to the universally accepted understanding of the role of carbon, and other greenhouse gas emisisons, to climate change.     By 2013, 33 countries will have some sort of national-mandated levy on carbon emisisons, according to the Australian Climate Commission.

By contrast, last month the US Congress voted in support of H.R. 4309, the “worst environmental bill in history” which, among other things, disallows the regulation of coal ash, CO2 emissions, and mercury.

In response, an angry Senator James Inhofe (R-Oklahma), a lifelong opponent of carbon reduction policies, climate-change denier, and recipient of more than $500,000 in political contributions from the fossil fuel industries, issued a terse statement, saying “The Norweigans have it backwards.   Putting a tax on carbon emissions, and mitigating against climate change , will only  put honest, hard-working American asthma doctors out of work”, referring to studies linking climate change to increased asthma attacks in children.   “This is unacceptable to the American economy”.

In a further, if symbolic strike against Norway, House Majority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) , recipient of nearly $1 million in political contributions from the oil and gas industries, announced that the US Congressional cafeteria would no longer list salmon on its menu.   ‘As a result of this very typically unAmerican assault on good, clean carbon, salmon will no longer be listed in our menu.  Instead, we will now call it “Freedom Salmon”said Boehner,  barely  able to hold back tears.
Speaking to the annual “How Stupid is the American Congress” gathering, the Norwegian Environmental Minister, Mr. Solhjell, said “We  find it hard to believe guys like Boehner and Inhofe even graduated 4th grade, let alone rise to positions of authority in the US Congress.”

“Thank goodness the Norweigan government, supported by a forward-thinking citizenry, is led with a spirit of  social intelligence, at least”.

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