Climate activists challenge Norway’s Arctic oil projects in EU court – JURIST – News
A group of Norwegian climate activists formally called on the European court of human rights (ECHR) examines Norway’s plans for expanding arctic oil and gas extraction, arguing that their “rights to life and to private and family life are directly affected by climate change” .
Environmental groups Greenpeace and Young Friends of the Earth, as well as six Norwegians aged 20 to 27, submitted a 28-page lawsuit request at the Strasbourg court. They hope the court will determine that by allowing more oil drilling amid a climate crisis, Norway violates basic human rights, in particular the European Convention on Human Rights. Articles 2 and 8.
“The authorization of new oil drilling in vulnerable areas of the Barents Sea is a violation of Articles 2 and 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, granting me the right to be protected against decisions putting my life and well-being in danger, “said Lasse Eriksen Bjørn, one of the six applicants. “As a young person from the Sami sea culture, I fear the impact that climate change will have on the way of life of my people. “
Popularized as “The People v. Arctic oil”, The issue has been in and out of Norwegian courts for almost five years. Two of the applicants challenged Norway’s decision to grant ten licenses for oil drilling in the Barents Sea in 2016 under Article 112 of the Norwegian Constitution. In 2018, the Oslo District Court tenuous that Article 112 only applies to local environmental damage and greenhouse gas emissions in Norway, but not to emissions from combustion occurring abroad. The case was then dismissed on appeal.
Finally, in its version of December 2020 judgment, the Norwegian Supreme Court ruled that the drilling decision did not violate the “right to a healthy environment” as provided for in Article 112, and the applicants’ appeal was dismissed. Four judges dissented, arguing that the government had not assessed potential climate emissions from exported Norwegian oil.
The move paved the way for Norway, the largest oil-producing country in Western Europe, to pursue uninterrupted oil and gas exploration, despite being a leader in adopt green technologies and setting ambitious climate goals. The contrast in climate priorities continues to attract UN critic. At the beginning of June, the Minister of Petroleum and Energy, Tina Bru, announced plans continue to extract oil and gas until at least 2050, despite warnings from the International Energy Agency.
The Norwegian trial is the latest in a emerging branch of international climate change litigation. In May, a court in The Hague ordered Royal Dutch Shell will reduce its carbon emissions by 45% by 2030. On the same day, a Ugandan court heard its first human rights case regarding the impacts of climate change. An Australian federal court also ruled that the government had a duty to protect youth of the climate crisis.
More recently, the ECHR ordered 33 European governments to respond to a climate change lawsuit brought by six young Portuguese people.