Monday, December 10, 2007
Are Norwegians energy conscious?
Oslo's festive streets are filled with Christmas shoppers, but also with some visitors who make a point of scheduling their trips during the Nobel Peace Prize events.

Architect Karin Hansen, now a resident of Malaga, Spain, has visited her hometown for the past several years to witness the concert, torchlight procession, and performances by local children.

"I think sometimes they give the prize hoping it will lead to peace," she said. In the case of this year’s winners, she said the attention on global warming could help raise awareness of conservation, especially in the developed world.

Are Norwegians energy conscious?

Not as much as they should be, we could all do more," said Hansen.

The city of Oslo encourages residents to save energy by using public transportation.

Part of the incentive to leave the car at home is a hefty hit to the pocketbook for driving downtown. Toll booths across the city charge 20 Norwegian Kroner, or about $4, just to drive in the city. Parking fees are likewise pricey, and limited.

Suhak Kawwani works at a newsstand across the street from The Grand Hotel, where some of the Nobel events are taking place. While the kiosk always sells newspapers from across Europe, he says he has noticed a bit of extra traffic with all the dignitaries in town.

A native of Afghanistan, Kawwani is pleased that Al Gore and the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change won this year’s prize.

"Just like there is peace for the soul, nature also needs peace," said Kawwani. "And we need to do more than just rely on technology to deal with it."

He said many Norwegians knew of Gore when he was vice president, but in recent years also because of his crusade to raise awareness about global warming.

Industrial design student Armand Bentzen, working the night shift at an Oslo 7-11, isn't so wowed by all the hoopla in the center of the city. And he acknowledges that developed countries like Norway, that guzzle the most power, need to take the lead in going on an energy diet.

"We are starting now to be thinking more about it, so far we are not very good at it. We waste a lot of power here," he said.

While he says it's more of an economic issue than one of being green, Bentzen doesn't own a car. He says public transportation is pretty good across the country.

He said affordable electricity in both Europe and the United States sometimes keeps people from thinking about how much they use.

"It's a difficult thing for people to change their way of living. It's a global problem, everyone needs to do their part," said Bentzen.

-- From CNN Producer Marsha Walton
It may cost 20 kroner at the toll booth but the bus costs 23 kroner one way!! A bit silly really.
AlGore’s Tennessee home, located in the Nashville suburb of Belle Meade, recently completed an exhausting renovation, bringing it entirely up to green standards, even going beyond in most cases.

The renovations included installing a geothermal heating system, adding a rainwater-collection system, and installing solar panels to offset energy consumption. He also replaced all light bulbs in the house with compact fluorescent and diode bulbs, to really drive the point home (we even heard he used these type bulbs on his Xmas tree as well!).

The updates contributed to an 11 percent drop in home energy consumption during the summer (when most Nashville houses report a 25-30% rise

Did Al Gore wave a Magic wand ? Or did the Nobel Piece Prize to Gore and the intergovernmental panel on Climnate chage add to the US pressure ?? US has taken a U turn at the UN Convention on climate change at Bali...
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