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    Environmental Extravaganza: Norway's Rich Given Handouts to Ditch Cars

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    Opulent Norwegians, former politicians and high-ranking journalists were revealed to have received subsidies from the city council of Oslo in a bid to promote electric vehicles, ease the city's traffic and save the environment.

    Family photo of the Norwegian Royal family
    © AFP 2019 / Aserud, Lise / NTB SCANPIX
    Over a thousand different people were given subsidies of up to 5,000 kroner (roughly $600 dollar) in order to purchase expensive electric bicycles under an environmental campaign in the Norwegian capital of Oslo. A report from the Norwegian newspaper Dagbladet, revealed that many of the recipients in fact belonged to the absolute cream of the society, including multi-millionaires, top CEOs and uppermost leading journalists.

    Accordingly, one of the recipients of the city subsidies was no other than 65-year-old Richard Andvord, whose fortune was valued as 93 million kroner (roughly 11 million dollars) in 2012. Andvord admitted receiving the subsidy, but refused to comment. Another conspicuous recipient was Oslo's former Mayor Fabian Stang.

    Still another prominent benefactor was well-known businessman and ship owner Morits Skaugen, whose wife Grace Reksten Skaugen also received 5,000 kroner for the purchase of an electric bicycle.

    "This is not relevant criticism. Also, this is an entirely different debate," Skaugen told Dagbladet, brushing off the newspaper's criticism.

    Ironically, the list of city's beneficiaries included high-profile journalists and editors, including those of Nettavisen, ABC Nyheter and none other than Dagbladet's own columnist Marite Aurdal.

    Remarkably, many of the benefactors, such as ABC News editor Tor Strand, have not yet purchased an electric bike.

    "I'm still not sure if I shall use the subsidy," said Strand.

    Nettavisen's editor Gunnar Stavrum claimed he took the money just to show how insane Oslo's support for electric bicycles was.

    "It's a stupid plan, because it makes it more profitable to buy an electric bicycle instead of an ordinary one, which in fact is the most environmentally-friendly option," he told Aftenposten.

    Even Director of the National Crime Prevention Council Erik Nadheim, who was among the benefactors, scolded the plan as well.

    "Many of us who have received the bike support are people who would have been able to afford them anyway. This is especially striking as Oslo's hospitals are up for a 50-million-kroner cutback program. I can think of better ways to spend taxpayers' money than contributions for the bourgeoisie. Although I do not mind buying an electric bicycle, there are other ways to tax money can go to, like elderly care, health care and nurseries," said Nadheim.

    City Council member Lan Marie Nguyen Berg waved aside the criticism of the unnecessary help to the over-privileged, saying the subsidy program's aim was to encourage people to leave their cars behind and take bicycle rides instead.

    "That is the point that remains valid regardless of whether you are rich or poor. We shall now evaluate look at the program and see whether it has reached the desired resultits target," she told Dagbladet.

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    Tags:
    electric cars, bicycle, environment, Oslo, Scandinavia, Norway
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