Norway—the 15th largest producers of oil on Earth—appears to be looking for an alternative path forward. Fresh off of announcements that it's building Europe's largest onshore wind farm, and not so long after it decided to divest its sovereign wealth fund from coal and tar sands operations, this small Scandinavian country is announcing a huge investment in cycling infrastructure.
As reported by Katie Herzog over at Grist, Norway will be investing close to $1 billion to build "bike superhighways" around its 10 largest cities. The idea is to create two-lane bike paths that facilitate both in-city travel, and connections to the suburbs surrounding each town. As Herzog suggests, the move is part of a broader push to diversify Norway's economy and invest in infrastructure, largely as a response to plummeting oil prices and job cuts that have accompanied them.
It may also be one more example of a dynamic that's playing out in oil producing nations around the world. As I noted over at MNN recently, the loss of revenues caused by lower prices has meant that oil producers are trying to cut consumption at home by reducing subsidies and/or investing more heavily in alternatives. By reducing domestic reliance on oil consumption, these countries hope, they can save more of their production for export (and revenue generation) abroad.
From its forward thinking embrace of electric cars to Oslo banning cars from its city center, Norway was already ahead of the curve on this front. These bike superhighways will be one more example of a nation that's slowly moving on from oil.