By Deb Courson Smith

Norway’s envoy to the United States has a story to tell – about ice.

Ambassador Wegger Strommen says climate change already is affecting natural resources and commerce in his part of the world, and he’s sharing that story this week in Montana.

“We live the closest to the part of the planet that is changing the most rapidly. The ice is going away in the Arctic. So, we see with our own eyes it’s going to be water up there.”

The melting ice reinforces and accelerates climate change, says Strommen, who is looking for ideas and views in Montana on what can be done to slow the pace of change.

Strommen sees similarities between Norway and Montana. Both states are exporters of fossil fuels, he says, and burning those fuels is connected to a faster rate of climate change.

“We have come to the conclusion that we cannot face the future with the current balance of energy sources. Our economy has to change. I mean, we have to change.”

Norway is the world’s sixth-largest exporter of oil, and the second-largest exporter of gas.

Strommen will be part of a panel discussion today which also features climate scientists from Norway and Montana. The discussion will run from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at Baxter Ballroom, 105 W. Main St., Bozeman. Admission is free. admission. A similar panel convened Wednesday in Billings. Sponsors of both events include: MSU Billings Urban Institute, American Action Forum, Montana Conservation Voters, Montana Environmental Information Center, National Wildlife Federation, Sierra Club, Northern Plains Resource Council and Yellowstone Business Partnership.