Environmentalist groups appeal court ruling on Norway’s Arctic drilling


Environmentalist groups said Monday they have decided to appeal an court’s ruling, which says the Norwegian government’s plans for Arctic oil exploration are lawful.

“There is already enough carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to seriously damage our future. By opening up these pristine areas for oil exploration Norway is effectively smuggling its emissions outside of its own borders and furthering climate change, which harms everyone, everywhere,” Truls Gulowsen, head of Greenpeace in Norway, was quoted as saying in a press release.

Greenpeace’s Nordic branch and the Nature and Youth have jointly filed the lawsuit against the Norwegian government for granting the new oil licenses, saying the decision contravenes the Paris Climate Agreement and violates the Norwegian Constitution.

The groups vowed to take the legal battle directly to the Supreme Court.

The two environmentalist groups claimed that this is the first case that challenges new oil and gas drillings on the basis of the Paris Agreement, and it is also the first time that Article 112 of the Norwegian Constitution is being tested in court, hoping that the lawsuit “could set an international precedent.”

Last month, the Oslo District Court dismissed the climate lawsuit, saying that the government’s decision in 2016 to grant new oil licenses in the Arctic Barents Sea does not constitute a breach of the environmental clause and that remedial measures taken by the government have been sufficient.

The subject of the lawsuit is Norway’s decision made in the summer of 2016 to grant 10 new oil drilling licenses on the Norwegian continental shelf in Barents Sea to 13 oil companies, including Norway’s Statoil, U.S. energy corporation Chevron and Russia’s Lukoil.

The Ministry of Petroleum and Energy, representing the Norwegian government, has dismissed the plaintiffs’ argument, insisting that the decision to award the production licenses is “valid” and has “a clear legal foundation.”