Norway’s Supreme Court to decide landmark climate case against Arctic oil in November

Norway’s highest court will take on the case branded as “the People vs Arctic oil” in November 2020. (Christian Åslund/ Greenpeace)
After losing two lower courts, four Norwegian environmental organizations in April this year got acceptance to bring their case against Arctic oil drilling in the Barents Sea in for the country’s highest court.

The case hearings will start on 4 November, Greenpeace Norway announces.

Seven full days have been set aside for the case, and all 19 judges of the Court will attend. It will be an extraordinary court process. Only 10 percent of cases in Norway are taken to the Supreme Court, and very few of them are assessed over this many days.

It was in 2016 that the organizations sued the Norwegian state for the opening of new oil drilling in the Barents Sea through the 23rd licensing round.

The environmentalists argue that Arctic oil drilling will contribute to more harmful climate gasses to the atmosphere and consequently contradict Article 112 in the country’s constitution.

That article says that the State has an obligation to guarantee citizens’ rights for a secure climate.

No other countries in the circumpolar Arctic have allowed for oil drilling further north than Norway.

“We the people have a constitutionally granted right to a healthy environment. Now, it’s up to the Supreme Court of Norway to make it a reality”Frode Pleym, head of Greenpeace Norway.
“Whatever the outcome may be, this judgement will be historic, and have real consequences for the world and for our human rights.”

People must be aware that they have a Constitutional right to a healthy environment, the organizations underline.

“The Supreme Court’s decision will either have fatal or fantastic consequences for our future. It is crucial that people recognise the importance of that,” says Therese Hugstmyr Woie, head of Young Friends of the Earth Norway.

Related stories from around the North:

Arctic: Roundup of COVID-19 responses around the Arctic, Eye on the Arctic

Canada: What Russia’s $300B investment in Arctic oil and gas means for Canada, CBC News

Finland: Finland investigates oil leak risks from Baltic Sea shipwrecks, Yle News

Greenland: Greenland joins push to ban heavy fuel oil in the Arctic, Eye on the Arctic

Iceland: Iceland to restrict heavy fuel oil use in territorial waters, Eye on the Arctic

Norway: Plenty of more oil in Barents Sea, says Norwegian petroleum authority, The Independent Barents Observer

Russia: Arctic oil plans in Norway and Russia disrupted amid COVID-19 crisis. The Independent Barents Observer

United Kingdom: Exemptions to possible Arctic HFO ban denounced by Indigenous orgs, environmental groups, Eye on the Arctic

United States: Wells Fargo becomes third major US bank to nix Arctic oil investment, Alaska Public Media

Atle Staalesen, The Independent Barents Observer

For more news from the Barents region visit The Independent Barents Observer.

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