Episode 22 of POLITICO's EU Confidential podcast features Eldar Sætre, the CEO of Norway's oil and gas company Statoil.
We spoke to Sætre on November 9, after the COP23 global climate conference had kicked off in Bonn, Germany, but before Norway's $1 trillion sovereign wealth fund proposed dropping investments in oil and gas stocks. We also chatted with POLITICO's Sara Stefanini, who has spent the week in Bonn reporting on the climate conference.
Paging Rex Tillerson: Sætre says the future of his business is green, but that it won't give up oil and gas anytime soon. Would he call U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson — a former oil and gas CEO himself — to push a green message? “You know I could call Rex, but I think the U.S. politics is more complex than that. So I don't know ... I'm very open about this when I go to Washington.”
Beating the dependency on subsidies: Scaling up the use of renewable energies such as wind and solar power has tended to require big upfront public investments or tax incentives. That landscape is changing quickly, Sætre said. “I remember the first projects that we engaged in requiring massive subsidies. And what we've seen in the latest project is that you're very close to having and installing offshore wind actually more or less without subsidies ... That's a tremendous journey.”
EU WTF moments of the week — White supremacists march in Warsaw and European Parliament's hot water cut off: In Europe, it can be easy to dismiss white supremacy movements as merely populist or nationalist in nature. This week the podcast panel looks at how radical nationalists demanding a "White Europe" and an "Islamic Holocaust" during Polish independence day celebrations made international headlines. On a lighter note, we also discuss why MEPs have lost hot water in their offices, forcing them to take a cold shower in both literal and metaphorical terms.
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