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Court case
08.11.2017

The Climate Lawsuit against the Norwegian government

Get to know the background for the court case

On this site you will find:

  • A brief intro to the climate lawsuit
  • Practical info about the court hearings and press conference
  • Press contacts and links to images for media
  • Media briefings, legal documents and articles

 

The case

Nature and Youth (Young friends of the Earth Norway) and Greenpeace Nordic have filed a historic people-powered lawsuit against the Norwegian government for granting new oil licenses in the Arctic Barents Sea. The plaintiffs argue that the decision to hand out new licenses contravenes the Paris climate agreement and violates the right to a safe and healthy environment for current and future generations granted by the Norwegian Constitution.

This is the first case that challenges new oil and gas drilling based on the Paris Agreement. It is also the first time that article  112 of the Norwegian Constitution will be tested in court, which could set an international precedent.

The subject of the lawsuit is the government’s decision to grant new oil drilling licenses in the Norwegian Arctic, in the summer of 2016 (the 23rd licensing round). These licenses, awarded to Statoil, Chevron, Lukoil and ten other oil companies, are located in highly sensitive areas of the Arctic; new areas with no existing petroleum infrastructure. 

The plaintiffs argue that granting the licences cannot be reconciled with what Norway committed to when it ratified the Paris Agreement's goal of limiting global temperature rise to 1.5 Cº.

It is our duty as citizens and as an environmental organisation, to act when politicians are failing their commitments and responsibilities. The climate lawsuit is driven by people to hold the Norwegian government accountable under the law to ensure a healthy and safe environment and climate for us and for future generations.

 

The District Court hearings in Oslo

From 14 to 23 November, Greenpeace Nordic and Nature and Youth met the Norwegian government in the Oslo District Court. The Norwegian Grandparents Climate Campaign added their  support to the co-plaintiffs. The lawsuit proceeded over seven days, where lawyers presented evidence and argued that the negative impacts on the Arctic and the global climate brought by the licenses is a violation of the Constitutional right to a safe and healthy environment.  

The appeal

5th February, 2018, Greenpeace Nordic and Nature and Youth are appealing the judgement in their case against the Norwegian Government for Arctic oil drilling.

In the People vs. Arctic oil climate lawsuit, the Norwegian State was sued for violating the Norwegian Constitution's environmental Article § 112 for opening up a vast new area for oil and gas drilling in the Norwegian Arctic. [1] Today Greenpeace and Nature and Youth will challenge the judgement by taking the legal battle directly to the Supreme Court.

 

Spokespersons  

Truls Gulowsen, Head of Greenpeace Norway: [email protected]greenpeace.org/ +47 90107904

Ingrid Skjoldvær, Head of Nature and Youth (Natur og Ungdom): [email protected] / +47 97702181

Steinar Høiback, head of Besteforeldrenes klimaaksjon, [email protected] / 91174848

 

International press contact (present in Oslo)

Poul Bonke Justesen, media coordination, Greenpeace Nordic: [email protected] / +45 26292 4938

Daniel Bengtsson, Head of communications, Greenpeace Nordic: [email protected]/+46703009510

 

Norwegian press contact

Aud Hegli Nordø, Head of communications, Greenpeace Norge, [email protected] / 41470649

 

Images and video available here 

 

Podcast - learn more about the case, Arctic oil and the global climate movement supporting the climate lawsuit. Listen to “Unburnable: The People vs Arctic Oil”

 

Articles 

Two media picks to get on top of issue: 

“Norway faces climate lawsuit over oil exit plans” (The Guardian, October 18, 2016) - filing against the Norwegian government.

“Climate-change lawsuits” (The Economist, November 2, 2017). The Norwegian case is part of increasing trend of climate movements challenging governments and big polluters in court.

 

Media briefings

 

The People vs Arctic Oil: A climate court case against the Norwegian government for opening new oil fields in the Arctic

 

Briefing: Oil drillings in the Barents Sea.

 

Briefing on Bear Island

 

 

Legal documents

The legal writ submitted to Oslo District Court (October 18th, 2016) against the decision of the 23rd licensing round. (unofficial translation)

 

Response from the government (December 12th, 2016) (unofficial translation)

 

The First Provocation - the plaintiffs’ reply to the State Response (January 1st, 2017. This is the document was filed to reply to the comments from the State. (unofficial translation)

 

“Petroleum activity in Barents Sea South-East – climate, economics and employment” Report by Mads Greaker and Knut Einar Rosendahl (unofficial translation)

Written closing submission (official translation)

The above is a relevant subset of the legal proceedings. The final statements will be added as soon as they are translated. All the legal communication between the plaintiffs and the State is available in Norwegian on http://www.greenpeace.org/norway/no/nyheter/2017/Klimasoksmalet/ 

 

Direct appeal to the supreme court of Norway (unofficial translation)

 

Reply to Notice of Appeal to Supreme Court of Norway (unofficial translation) 

 

Amicus briefs

An Amicus Brief is a written submission to a Court filed by a non-party to a legal case in order to offer supplementary information to the Court and help explain certain relevant issues. Under Norwegian Civil Procedure (Dispute Act Section 15-8) the purpose of the submission is to shed “light on matters of public interest that are at stake in a case”.   

The Amici, or friends of the court, have an interest in the case although they are not parties. The submission will assist the court in illuminating an issue on which the Amici have particular expertise. Here follow the amicus briefs related to the lawsuit: 

 

Brief prepared by the Yale Law School Lowenstein International Human Rights Clinic. This brief focuses on the obligations of the Norwegian government under international human rights law.

Brief by the Center for International Environmental Law - CIEL. This brief focuses on the rights of future generations under international law.

Brief by the Environmental Law Alliance Worldwide - ELAW. This brief focuses on international law evaluation of the environmental impact assessment for the 23rd licensing round

Related stories

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