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15 Nov 2017

Environmental NGOs take Norway to court over Arctic drilling licenses and link with climate change

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From 14 to 23 November 2017, a Norwegian court will hear a case brought by Greenpeace Nordic, Nature and Youth, and  the Grandparents Climate Campaign against the Norwegian government over the granting of Arctic oil exploration licenses to 13 oil companies. The environmental NGOs argue that a 2015 oil licensing round allowing new drilling in the Barents Sea in the Arctic violates the Norwegian constitution and the Paris Agreement.

The plaintiffs will argue that the Norwegian government has violated the right to a healthy and safe environment for future generations granted by the Constitution. The use of Constitutional law in so-called climate change litigation is an emerging trend, however invoking primarily the right to a healthy environment in this context is a first, and could have a ripple effect in other jurisdictions where this right is constitutionally protected. 

The Norwegian government argues that the issuing of licenses has no link to their constitution, and emphasises the high standard of the Norwegian environmental laws. 

More information about the case here.

[Also refers to Aker BP, Capricorn, Idemitsu, PGNiG]