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Energy Transition in Oil-Exporting Countries

Discourses on The Green Shift and Climate Change in Norway and the Gulf.

A cargo boat approaching a harbour in the Gulf.

Photo: Getty Images.

About the project

This Thematic Research Group (TRG) studies how governments and society in oil-exporting countries respond to the prospect of a transition towards renewable sources of energy.

  • Are there similarities across different geographical, social, and political contexts?
  • Do states and civil society face analogous conflicts of interest when confronting «the green shift»?
  • Are there common experiences and lessons to be learned in terms of building support for necessary policy measures to adapt to a global green shift as well as a changing climate?

The research group aims to explore these questions through a comparative study of public discourse on energy transition and climate change in three oil-exporting countries: Norway, Kuwait and the the United Arab Emirates (UAE).


These three countries are among the world's largest producers of oil and gas, they have small populations of citizens, and advanced welfare states.

Beyond that, there are important differences between them in the availability of renewable energy sources, and governance systems. While Norway is a highly functional democracy, Kuwait has a semi-democratic political system and UAE is an autocratic monarchy.

The three countries have all ratified the Paris Agreement, and they have all pledged to extend their countries' oil and gas extraction far beyond the limits allowed by the Paris Agreement to avoid catastrophic climate change.

The research group will analyze the following:

  • Which differences and similarities can be detected in these oil-states' political discourses on the way forward?
  • How do they inhibit necessary climate action at this critical juncture in international climate negotiations?

Dominant discourses determine what is excluded and included and legitimize political action – or non-action. Analyzing dominant and alternative discourses is a way of deciphering these mechanisms and create consciousness about political alternatives to the status quo.


  • UiO:Energi




01.09.2020 - 01.11.2023.

Published Feb. 21, 2022 11:12 AM - Last modified Mar. 17, 2022 1:11 PM