Yesterday came the verdict in Norway’s first climate trial in which Greenpeace and Young Friends of the Earth Norway sued the Norwegian state over the awarding of exploration licenses for the Barents Sea and in consideration of future generations. The State won.
The verdict states that the state won, and that Greenpeace Nordic, Young Friends of the Earth Norway and the NGO Grandparents’ Climate Action are to cover the Ministry of Oil and Energy’s lawsuit costs of NOK 580,000.
- We disagree with this verdict. The climate cannot take any more oil. Climate researchers are crystal clear about that. The Norwegian oil policy is letting my generation down and threatening my future. It is obvious to us that the State is in violation of the Constitution, and our right to a healthy environment. The District Court legitimizes a self-centred climate policy that disregards the fact that the climate crisis does not know national boundaries, says Ingrid Skjoldvær, leader of Young Friends of the Earth Norway, in a press statement.
The case is the first of its kind in Norway, however, it is by no means unique. According to an overview from the UN Environmental Programme and Columbia Law School, there have been nearly 900 environmental court cases globally.
- In working on this lawsuit we have discovered severe flaws of the [Norwegian] management of oil. There is no consideration of climate issues and the economic impact assessments contain errors in the range of hundreds of billions. The fact that the Ministry of Oil and Energy miscalculate hundreds of billions is serious. This is something that would not have been revealed it if were not for our lawsuit, Skjoldvær says.
There is an appeal deadline of four weeks following yesterday’s verdict. The environmental organizations will use this period to assess the situation.
- We will now read the verdict in detail and assess whether or not we want to appeal and have the money to do so, says Truls Gulowsen, leader of Greenpeace Norway.
- YFE Norway has fought for the future for more than 50 years, and we will not give in until the battle is won. We must now decide whether we want to continue doing so using the court. If we choose to appeal, that will be because we believe we can win in court. Thus, we will read the verdict closely before deciding whether or not to appeal, Skjoldvær says in closing.
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FACTS ON THE CLIMATE COURT CASE:
- YFE Norway and Greenpeace Nordic sued the Norwegian state for violating the Constitution’s article 112, often referred to as ‘the Environment Paragraph’.
- The organisations argue that the awarding of new exploration licenses in the Barents Sea contradict the article, which states that: “Every person has the right to an environment that is conducive to health and to a natural environment whose productivity and diversity are maintained. Natural resources shall be managed on the basis of comprehensive long-term considerations which will safeguard this right for future generations as well.”
- The case was tried before Oslo District Court between 14. And 23. October, 2017.
- This is the first time that the Environment Paragraph is tried before a court.
(Sources: YFE Norway, Greenpeace Norway and NTB news agency)