Friday, August 6, 2010

Visit scenic Hardanger ...

... before it's too late.

I guess I'm not surprising anyone who knows me by saying that I am totally against the proposed power lines in Hardanger. And I guess I shouldn't be using the word 'proposed' - the government seems to consider it a done deal. Polls showing that 77% of the population oppose the project supposedly don't faze them. Well, we'll see come election time. (There will be local and regional elections in Norway next year.) The thought of voting is very confusing to me right now. I don't know who I can vote for at this point. Labor is my usual choice, but as things stand now they are not an option for me. I can't swallow this. Center is out, I think, probably. And the Socialist Left, WTF? They are against the project but they voted in favor of it, because it's going to happen anyway ... ? Ever hear of principles?? o_O

So that makes it tricky, because what are the options? Erna Solberg was in the news today bitching about how the government is forcing this down our collective throats and it's all so wrong and bad. But how would she be different if she were PM?? Wouldn't she, as her party traditionally is so wont to do, care even more about industry and jobs and even less about the environment than the current government does? I am not convinced that having the blues in power would make anything different on this issue whatsoever.

But what might make a difference - and not just on this issue, but generally - would be if our politicians would actually be honest with us and tell us what's really going on here. They're going on about Bergen, Bergen, Bergen ... we need to ensure the power supply to Bergen, it's all about Bergen. But no, it's not! If it were only Bergen and its hinterland and the power supply to that area, I'm not at all convinced that we would need to upgrade anything at all. The fact is that it's the offshore industry in the North Sea that needs all this power. It is so unfair that Bergen is getting the blame for this, metaphorically speaking. This is about more cheap subsidised power to the offshore industry ... which has to cut its emissions, so they're switching over from gas to electricity. Then they sell the gas to the continent where it's burned anyway and emissions don't go down at all ... ! but it looks like they're cut here, which is what the government cares about. OK, it's too much to hope for that politicians would tell the truth about something like that last part ... but again, they're blaming the city of Bergen and its inhabitants in a really shitty way. If I was from Bergen, I would be really pissed right now.

And if I was from Hardanger, then whew ... !! Sure, the photo in this post is probably exaggerated to some degree. But the principle of the thing is the same. How can we be thinking of ruining this absolute treasure of natural beauty that doesn't just belong to us, but to future generations too? The power lines are the cheapest option, they keep saying, undersea cables would be 'too expensive' - but how can we put a price on Hardanger, which isn't just one of the most beautiful places in this country, but in the whole world?? How do you put a price tag on that? I know how to lower the price, at least. Work has been going on behind the scenes for quite a while now trying to get Hardanger on the UNESCO World Heritage list. That would bring the number of tourists to the area up, no question, and this would mean increased revenues. But guess what - put up those masts and that ain't never gonna happen. Ever. >:-(

What's so interesting is that Statnett is saying, in an annoying chorus with the government, that the masts are the best option - it's a total coincidence that it's also the cheapest, it really is the best! - and that undersea cables would be too expensive, too difficult to put in place, too tricky to maintain. But if we can't afford to keep these eyesores out of Hardanger, then I really have to question our spending habits. There's a lot of other shit we shouldn't be able to afford, if that were true. In this case it's not about what we can spend, it's about what we want to spend. And as for the rest, Statnett may find it too difficult, but Nexans Norway is the absolutely best in the world at this kind of thing, and they don't think it would be too difficult. They think it would be a challenge, but absolutely not too difficult. And why not give them a challenge?? Why not use this as an opportunity to expand our limits, use the technology of the future, not that of the past??

And why not have the real debate, the one that we should be having and that discussions like these are always drowning out. I heard one pro-power masts person say that we just have to do this, if we're going to keep up our current consumption level. So, discussion over as far as he was concerned. But if you ask me, that's just where the debate ought to really start.

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