Money Pours In for Historic Oil Trial in Norway

Court case against the Norwegian State. Greenpeace and Young Friends of the Earth Norway will face the Norwegian State before Oslo District Court on November 24, 2017. Leader Ingrid Skjoldvær of YFE Norway works actively to gather witnesses and find good arguments in order to win the case and halt oil drilling in the Arctic. (Photo: YFE Norway)
Greenpeace and Young Friends of the Earth Norway have received more than NOK 500,000 through more than a thousand contributions towards their court case against the Norwegian state in order to halt oil drilling in the Arctic. And the money keeps pouring in.


Greenpeace and Young Friends of the Earth Norway have received more than NOK 500,000 through more than a thousand contributions towards their court case against the Norwegian state in order to halt oil drilling in the Arctic. And the money keeps pouring in.

- The grass root supports us, says Ingrid Skjoldvær (24), who leads Young Friends of the Earth Norway.

One year ago, Greenpeace and YFE Norway launched a historic case against the Norwegian state in order to halt oil drilling in the Barents Sea. On November 14, the case appears before Oslo District Court. It is the first time that section 112 of the Norwegian Constitution is tried in court. 

- The Attorney General will be defending the State. It is a rather special case. Right now we are working hard on our arguments and finding witnesses. Using the environmental paragraph of the Constitution in a court case like this is groundbreaking work, says Skjoldvær.

Very costly

The organisation has collected more than NOK 500,000 (>53,000 €) for the lawsuit through fundraising and donations. These resources are a prerequisite for being able to bring the case before the court.

- Taking a case to court is very costly. I guess there is a reason why it is not a common thing to do, however, we receive broad support both financially, in the population and in strong research communities, Skjoldvær says to High North News.

In court, the organisations will argue that new oil drilling in the Arctic is destructive for the climate and in violation of the Norwegian Constitution, and that the awarding of new exploration licences thus is invalid.

- The Paris Accord and the global agreement on the climate problem, as well as the limited carbon budget available to the world if these goals are to be achieved, will be important evidence in the case, Skjoldvær says. She thinks Norwegian media have paid rather limited attention to the issue.

- International media such as e.g. the New York Times contact us on a regular basis. The case receives widespread international attention, she says.

Two lawyers

According to Skjoldvær, lawyers Emanuel Stenberg and Cathrine Hambro will represent Greenpeace and Young Friends of the Earth Norway.

- The lawsuit against Norway’s oil drilling has become a part of a global movement. If we win, the consequence may be a withdrawing of the third round of licenses and in a larger perspective even a change of the oil regime, the leader says.

Today there are no environmental impact assessments required prior to the awarding of exploration licenses, she says.

- Today, the environment does not even come into consideration. We argue that new exploration areas actively contradict the Constitution, which basically states that the State is responsible for providing a sustainable environment for its citizens and its future generations.

- Does not belong in court

Attorney General Fredrik Sejersted, who leads the case for the State, says to Norwegian broadcaster NRK that this case does not belong in court and that a trial overrules democracy.

- The lawsuit is an attempt to make this case a strictly legal issue, moving it from the democratic and political processes to the court system. From the State’s side, we argue that it does not belong there, Sejersted says to NRK. He emphasizes that the Norwegian petroleum and climate policies are rooted in Stortinget, the Norwegian parliament.

- When politicians choose to violate the Constitution, this has to be addressed in a court process, says Skjoldvær.




FACTS ABOUT THE CLIMATE TRIAL
  • Greenpeace and Young Friends of the Earth Norway launched a case against the Norwegian state on October 18, 2016 for its permitting oil drilling in the Barents Sea.
  • The case is tried before Oslo District Court between the 13th and the 24th of November 2017
  • The Attorney General represents the Norwegian State
  • This is the first time the Norwegian Constitution’s section 112 is tried before a Court of Law
  • The environmental paragraph states that the State shall protect nature and environment for future generations.
  • The plaintiffs argue that the awarding of exploration licences in the Barents Sea are in violation of the Paris Accord too.
Source: Greenpeace Norway





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