“Bridge to the future” is an annual environmental conference that brings together people from a variety of organisations with the aim of building up the popular support needed to transform the Norwegian economy into one fuelled by renewable energy. The conference attracts high-profile keynote speakers, this time led by Prime Minister Erna Solberg and Jan Egeland of the Norwegian Refugee Council.
This year the Association of Consulting Engineers (RIF) and Multiconsult were invited to give a talk based on the report “State of the Nation”. The question that we were asked to address was how well Norway really is prepared for climate change. And are there any Norwegian engineers who can help us?
“We are keen to contribute to the debate on the transition to a green economy, and believe that people should listen to what we have to say. Consulting engineers have a huge amount of knowledge and resources, which key players in the green movement and politics should draw on. It is therefore valuable to be given a platform at these kinds of conferences,” says Christian Nørgaard Madsen.
Growing focus on renewable energy
“The fact that RIF and Multiconsult were invited to share a podium with the Prime Minister shows that people took notice of our State of the Nation report, and now they want to know how consulting engineers can help to solve the challenges we face in relation to climate change,” says Madsen.
Nørgaard Madsen used Multiconsult’s vision of “Bridging the past and the future” to highlight the extensive experience that consulting engineers have with renewable products, and to talk about how they are now putting a lot of resources into renewable energy technologies such as wind and solar. The State of the Nation report showed that Norway faces major challenges, and that a great deal of investment will be needed to respond to them. Nørgaard Madsen pointed out that Norway nevertheless has the necessary expertise to solve the challenges associated with climate change, starting with 10,000 engineers affiliated to RIF who both can and want to help. If you include international parent and sister companies, that number can be multiplied many times over.
In her speech, Prime Minister Erna Solberg mentioned two high-profile Multiconsult projects as examples of efforts to develop greener solutions. One was the pilot project Hydro Karmøy, where advances in science and technology are being used to make aluminium production more energy-efficient. She also dedicated part of her speech to the growth in solar power, specifically mentioning that Elkem Solar is once again producing solar-grade silicon. The Prime Minister’s speech can therefore be seen as strongly supportive of Madsen’s argument that we have engineers with the skills and willingness needed to help solve the challenges that we face.
The alliance behind “Bridge to the future”
Trade unions, the green movement and the Norwegian Church have formed an alliance that backs a specific demand for a politically led transformation to create 100,000 green jobs – allowing us to put the brakes on oil exploitation. This is also the partnership behind the annual climate change conference.
You can read more about “Bridge to the future” here.