Climate lawsuit against Arctic oil goes to court

Press release - 15 February, 2017
Oslo, Norway, 15 February 2017 – Oslo District Court has announced the hearing dates for the climate case filed against the Norwegian government for granting new oil drilling licenses in the Arctic ocean. The hearing will start on 13 November and continue for two weeks. The plaintiffs, Nature and Youth and Greenpeace Nordic, argue that the Norwegian government contravenes the Paris Agreement and violates the Norwegian constitutional right to a healthy and safe environment for current and future generations.

Head of Greenpeace Norway, Truls Gulowsen, said:

“This court case is about making governments everywhere responsible for the environment and accountable for their climate promises. By allowing oil companies to drill in the Arctic, the Norwegian government puts homes, health and families everywhere at risk.”

The Norwegian government has, for the first time in 20 years, opened up a new oil drilling area in the Barents Sea, allowing Statoil, Chevron, Lukoil and 10 other oil companies to start new exploration campaigns in the Arctic. Statoil has already announced that they will drill this summer.

Granting the licences cannot be reconciled with what Norway committed to when it ratified the Paris Agreement and promised to ambitiously reduce its emissions and help limit the global temperature increase to 1.5°C.

The plaintiffs will also argue the right to a healthy and safe environment for future generations as it is stated in the Norwegian constitution, which will be the first time this right is tested in court.

“The Norwegian government has an obligation to protect people's right to a healthy environment. This court just gave us the critical opportunity to protect our futures. This is a major step towards the solutions of the climate problem. Together we can be the generation that ends oil,” added Ingrid Skjoldvær from Nature and Youth.

This is the first court case that tries to oppose drilling for new oil and gas based on the Paris Agreement, but it is also part of a global wave of people litigating for the climate to hold governments and big polluters to account. Current cases include the Climate Justice case in the Philippines, Our Children’s Trust case in the USA, and the Climate Grannies case in Switzerland.

The 13 oil companies that have new license blocks in the Barents Sea are: Statoil (Norway), Capricorn, Tullow and Centrica (UK), Chevron and ConocoPhillips (USA), DEA (Germany), Aker BP (Norway), Idemitsu (Japan), Lukoil (Russia), Lundin Petroleum (Sweden), OMV (Austria), PGNiG (Norway/ Poland).


Images and video available here:

Link to the legal writ submitted to Oslo District Court:

Nature and Youth is a youth organisation with branches all across Norway. They are connected to Young Friends of the Earth Europe, but it is the organisation in Norway that is a plaintiff in the case.


Ingrid Skjoldvær, spokesperson, Nature and Youth + 47 977 02 181

Truls Gulowsen, spokesperson, Greenpeace Norway,  +47 901 07 904,

Aud Hegli Nordø, communications officer, Greenpeace Norway, +47 414 70 649,

Daniel Bengtsson, international communications coordination, Greenpeace Nordic, +46 703 300 95 10,