Unprecedented legal challenge mounted against the Norwegian government – video

The People vs Arctic Oil: Historic Lawsuit against Arctic Oil in Oslo

Green groups, indigenous people and scientists launch a legal challenge against the Norwegian government for handing out oil drilling licenses in the Arctic. Photo credit: Greenpeace.

By Anders Lorenzen

Greenpeace, the global environmental protection organisation, has launched an unprecedented legal challenge against Norway over plans to open up new oil drilling licenses in the Arctic.

In the above video, the group says that ‘with the ink hardly dry on the Paris Agreement, Norway has granted new licenses for drilling in Arctic waters.’

Joining Greenpeace in the lawsuit are indigenous activists, Dr James Hansen and Nature and Youth (Norway’s leading youth environmental organisation).

The campaigners are targeting a Norwegian constitutional amendment – Article 112, which was passed in 2014 and states: ‘every person has a right to an environment that is conducive to health and to a natural environment whose productivity and diversity are maintained. Natural resources should be managed on the basis of comprehensive long-term considerations whereby this right will be safeguarded for future generations as well.’

Hansen, who is also known as the ‘grandfather of climate change’ for being the first scientist to warn the world about climate change in 1988, is no stranger to lawsuits having himself launched one last year against the US Federal Government on the grounds that in causing climate change, they have violated the youngest generation’s constitutional rights to life, liberty, property, as well as failed to protect essential public trust resources. The ruling is due next month.

The Norwegian coalition’s premise for their lawsuit is that government plans would breach Norway‘s commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions under the 2015 Paris Agreement as well as its citizens constitutional right to a healthy, safe environment.

Truls Gulowsen from Greenpeace Norway added that “when we know that the oil and gas from existing oil and gas fields today account for more than we can use within a 1.5-degree climate budget, it is madness to open new fields.”




Photo credit: Greenpeace.

As to what the campaigners hope to achieve with the lawsuit, Gulowsen said that they demand the court deems new Arctic drilling licenses handed out in the Barents Sea this summer invalid.

The Oslo District Court has yet to decide on whether they will run the case.

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