En olje- og gassnasjons møte med parisavtalen: En analyse av italesettelsene omkring Norge som en olje- og gassproduserende klimanasjon i perioden 2013-2017

Petra Gjemmestad & Emilie Eloranta Rossholt

Student thesis: Master thesis


This master thesis deals with the contradicting state of Norway as a top petroleum producer, while the country’s government is trying to portray itself as a climate champion. After the negotiations concerning the Paris Agreement begun in 2012, there has been an increased national focus on global climate change. This has provided the greenhouse gas emissions from the Norwegian petroleum activities a more severe spot in the debate between the Solberg Government that inaugurated in 2013, the petroleum industry itself, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) dealing with climate changes.
The focus of this thesis is on how meaning is ascribed by different actants to the statement that Norway is an oil and gas producing climate nation, in addition to which conflicts that may arise in case these meanings differ. The thesis concludes that there exists a conflict where the Solberg Government and the petroleum industry have a different perception of what it will mean to develop Norway in a climate friendly direction, than what the NGOs dealing with climate changes are having. The Solberg Government has tried to solve this conflict by presenting a selective discursive truth that Norway is today a climate nation, and hence reducing the complexity in the conflict.
By applying Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe’s discourse theory in the first analysis, we consider how the Solberg Government ascribe meaning to the matter. By doing this, we hereby conclude that the oil and gas discourse has achieved a hegemonic position faced with the climate discourse in the Solberg Government’s communications. This aspect is imposed on in the next analysis, where Niklas Luhmann’s system theory is applied to construct a codifications analysis. The communications are here observed through a political, an economical, and a moral binary code, where existing conflicts appear between the petroleum industry and the NGOs dealing climate changes, as a result of different ascriptions of meaning to the matter. Finally, we discuss the different narratives that is told of Norway as an oil and gas producing climate nation through Algirdas Julien Greimas’ actantial model. The main conflict that appears in this narratives concerns the matter of what it means that Norway should be a climate friendly nation. This discussion points out the relations between the actants in the thesis, and reveals that the Solberg Government and the petroleum industry are on the same side in ascribing meaning to Norway as an oil and gas producing climate nation.

EducationsMSocSc in Political Communication and Managment, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2017
Number of pages113
SupervisorsMads Mordhorst