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

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] 

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Article
13 November 2017

Seeking to slow climate change, lawsuits look to the constitution

Author: Business Insider & Reuters (UK)

Climate activists will argue in an Oslo court this week that Norway's plans for Arctic oil exploration are unconstitutional, in an emerging branch of law where plaintiffs are trying to enlist a nation's founding principles to limit warming ...[such as] Article 112 of Norway's constitution [that] speaks of safeguarding a healthy environment for future generations.

...The Norwegian case, brought by Greenpeace and the Nature and Youth group, argues that a 2015 oil licensing round in the Arctic violates the constitution because Norway has agreed to the Paris accord's goals to end the fossil fuel era this century.

...Norway's attorney general argues that the oil licences, awarded to Statoil, Chevron, Lukoil, ConocoPhillips and others, have no link to the Constitution. Norway's environmental laws are among the toughest in the world.

...Environmentalists say the case is far more than a stunt. Losing could mean having to pay the state's legal fees, meaning a total bill exceeding $500,000.

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Article
13 November 2017

World's eyes on Norway as historic climate trial begins

Author: Greenpeace

[On 14 November 2017] ...environmental organisations Greenpeace Nordic and Nature and Youth take on the Norwegian government in court for opening up new areas in the Arctic to oil drilling. They are arguing that drilling for oil violates the Paris Agreement as well as the Norwegian constitution. Winning the case could set a precedent for future climate cases around the world.

...In the trial, set for 14-23 November, the plaintiffs will argue that the Norwegian government has violated the right to a healthy and safe environment for future generations granted by the Norwegian Constitution. This will be the first time this right is used in court.

...Alisi Nacewa, Pacific Island Represent activist said:..."The Norwegian government has signed the Paris Agreement but they continue to drill for oil and supply the world with more fossil fuels. The two are in complete contradiction...."

...The Norwegian government will defend their decision to, for the first time in 20 years, open up a new oil drilling area in the Barents Sea, allowing 13 oil companies to start new exploration campaigns in the Arctic.

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

Read the full post here