Press Release from Greenpeace International | originally published here 23 January 2020 |

Oslo, Norway – The Court of Appeals in Oslo just rendered the judgement of the Norwegian climate lawsuit. While the Norwegian Court rightly upholds the Constitution which guarantees everyone’s right to a healthy environment, it doesn’t acknowledge the environmental boundaries breached by awarding 10 oil drilling licenses in the Arctic.

Read the full judgement text (in Norwegian) here.

“We are happy the Norwegian Court of Appeals acknowledges current and future generations’ right to a healthy environment and that right also includes the duty to take into account the full emissions from the burning of Norwegian oil, wherever that takes place. This is an important legal victory on the right to a healthy environment under the Norwegian Constitution,” said head of Greenpeace Norway Frode Pleym.

“This is a big step closer to guaranteeing our future and sending a message that we can’t afford to drill for new oil. The Norwegian Court of Appeal is standing behind the constitutional right to a healthy environment, and finding that the Norwegian government could be responsible for emissions made by Norwegian oil burned abroad,” said head of co-plaintiff Nature & Youth Therese Woie.

“Still, the Court finds that the threshold for invalidating the oil drilling licences is not breached. The co-plaintiffs will appeal the judgement to Supreme Court, as it is clear that this necessitates further review by the judiciary,” said Frode Pleym.

The Court of Appeal additionally found that the case raises important principles pertaining to the environment and the living conditions for current and future generations. Thus it has ruled that Greenpeace and Nature and Youth do not need to bear the government’s costs from the District Court nor the Court of Appeal.

. . .

Norway is the 7th biggest exporter of climate-wrecking emissions on the planet. The country’s total exported greenhouse gas emissions are ten times bigger than the domestic emissions from the production.  

Notes

This is the first case to challenge the drilling for oil and gas based on the Paris Agreement, and it is the first time the rights contained in Norwegian Constitutional Article §112 are invoked in court. The plaintiffs have filed the legal case against the Norwegian government for granting oil licenses to 13 companies in the 23rd licensing in the Barents Sea.

The oil companies are: Equinor (formerly Statoil, Norway), Capricorn, Tullow and Centrica (UK), Chevron and ConocoPhillips (USA), DEA (Germany), Aker BP (Norway), Idemitsu (Japan), Lukoil (Russia), Lundin Petroleum (Sweden), OMV (Austria), PGNiG (Norway/Poland). 

Since the lawsuit was filed, Chevron and Tullow Oil Norge have sold their share in the licenses. Centrica Resources and Bayerngaz Norge have merged into Spirit Energy.

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