Greenpeace and Young Friends of the Earth Norway Monday announced that they will appeal the recent Oslo District Court verdict in which the Norwegian state was acquitted of violating the Constitution in relation to the awarding of petroleum exploration licences.
- It is obvious that the State violates the Constitution and our right to a healthy environment through its awarding of exploration licences for new oil fields. The Norwegian oil policy lets my generation down and threatens our future, and therefore we appeal, says Gaute Eiterjord, leader of YFE Norway, in a press release.
The case concerns alleged violation of the Norwegian Constitution’s article 112 in relation to the awarding of ten new petroleum exploration licences in a new area of the Barents Sea. When the licences were awarded, it was the first time in 20 years that the state opened up such large new areas for petroleum activities in the Arctic. The organisations argue that the climate threat is so serious that halting the contested petroleum licences is an urgent matter, hence their appealing the decision directly to the Supreme Court.
- The State takes note of the fact that the plaintiffs’ choosing to appeal the verdict from Oslo District Court. We have not yet received the letter of appeal yet and will thus not make any further comments. However, we will study it thoroughly when we receive it and submit our response to the court in due course, says Norwegian Attorney General Fredrik Sejersted.
Environmental rights of future posterity
Attorney Cathrine Hambro at Wahl-Larsen law firm represents the environmental organisations together with Emanuel Feinberg at the Glittertind law firm.
- The purpose of article 112 is to maintain the environmental rights of the inhabitants as well as of future posterity. If emissions from petroleum produced in Norway hampers these rights, that constitutes a violation of article 112 regardless of how this petroleum is burned, says Hambro.
522,000 persons from all over the world have so far signed on to a call to support the lawsuit. The Norwegian NGO Grandparents’ Climate Action is a third party intervener to the lawsuit brought on by YFE Norway and Greenpeace.
- It would make sense to stop pumping up the most expensive oil first and Arctic oil is the most expensive oil in the world. Norway has a great opportunity to push the world further into a renewable future, however, instead we open up for more petroleum exploration in a vulnerable ecosystem. We cannot continue like this if we are to avoid dangerous climate changes, says Gaute Eiterjord in a press release.
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FACTS ABOUT THE CLIMATE LAWSUIT
- Greenpeace Norway and Young Friends of the Earth Norway sued the Norwegian state on 18 October, 2016 over oil drilling in the Barents Sea
- The case was heard before Oslo District Court during 13 to 24 November, 2017.
- The state is represented by Attorney General Fredrik Sejersted
- This was the first time in which the Norwegian Constitution’s article 112 was tried before a Court of Law
- The article states that the State has an obligation to protect nature and the environment for future posterity
- The plaintiffs also argue that the awarding of exploration licences in the Barents Sea violate the Paris Agreement
- The environmental NGOs lost the first round in court, however, they are now appealing the case directly to the Supreme Court.
Source: Greenpeace Norway