GREENPEACE Nordic and Natur og Ungdom (Young Friends of the Earth Norway) are facing the Norwegian government in court, in a trial which started on 28 November.

The organisations argue that the recent approvals of three oil fields violate the Norwegian constitution and Norway’s international human rights commitments, including the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. They demand an immediate halt to the ongoing development of the oil fields.

“We are confident that we can win this fight against Norway’s aggressive gas and oil policy, which continues to wreak havoc on the climate and people all over the world. Respecting human rights to a healthy and sustainable environment is a duty of states and not some favour to communities. This case is part of a movement where people across the world are holding those responsible for the climate and nature crises accountable”, said Frode Pleym, Head of Greenpeace in Norway.

The new legal action builds upon legal precedent established in another climate lawsuit brought by the same organisations. It resulted in a judgement by the Norwegian Supreme Court in 2020, and later, an application to the European Court of Human Rights, now pending. The organisations point to the Supreme Court’s finding that the Norwegian state has an obligation to assess the global climate effects of new oil and gas fields prior to their approval.

Greenpeace Nordic and Natur og Ungdom highlight that the impact assessments of global climate effects of the three oil fields, named Yggdrasil, Tyrving and Breidablikk, are either non-existent or highly inadequate, rendering the approvals invalid.

The organisations also argue that the state is violating its obligation to take children’s best interests into account when approving the oil fields, violating both the Norwegian constitution and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

“The Norwegian government is constitutionally required to protect the fundamental rights of current and future generations. But for every new oil field the Norwegian government approves, it leaves bigger and bigger emission cuts and increasingly deadly, dangerous climate impacts for current and future generations to deal with. This is a grossly unfair burden on young people. It is time that the government puts children’s best interests first in oil matters, and stops fueling the climate crisis by locking us into decades of more oil and gas”, said Gina Gylver, Head of Natur og Ungdom .

At the same time as the Norwegian government is in court over its oil policy, they are sending a delegation including Norwegian oil companies Equinor and Aker to COP28.

“Norway is a climate hypocrite, not a climate leader. It’s quite telling that Norway is bringing oil companies to global climate negotiations. We hope the trial will put international pressure on Norway to commit to a fossil fuel phase-out at COP”, said Frode Pleym.

The plaintiffs have seven expert witnesses who will give testimony on key elements disputed by the state, including the climate effects of the three oil and gas projects, which the state claims are insignificant.

* Source: Greenpeace International