Oslo, Norway  –  Today, 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.

“There is already enough carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to seriously damage our future. By opening up these pristine areas for oil exploration Norway is effectively smuggling its emissions outside of its own borders and furthering climate change, which harms everyone, everywhere,” said Truls Gulowsen, head of Greenpeace in Norway.

Gaute Eiterjord, the 22 year- old leader of Nature and Youth added: “Opening up new untouched areas like the Arctic for oil drilling is a direct attack on today’s youth and future generations. As one of the richest countries in the world, Norway should be on the forefront of battling climate change, instead we’re profiting from climate destruction.”

Gulowsen of Greenpeace continued: “When politicians put oil before people, they need to be held accountable. If we win, millions of barrels of oil could be kept in the ground, and this is why we are taking Arctic oil to the Supreme Court.”

Throughout the 23rd licensing round, the Norwegian government, for the first time in 20 years, opened up a vast new, pristine area in the Barents Sea for oil exploration. A total of 13 oil companies were awarded 10 licenses. It is the assignment of these licenses the organisations believe violates the environmental rights in the constitution.

The organisations won a partial victory in January, when the Oslo District Court recognized the citizens and future generations constitutional right to a healthy environment. [2] Still, the Court failed to invalidate the Arctic oil licenses as a breach of these rights. This part of the ruling has been strongly criticized by legal academics. [3] In the appeal, Greenpeace and Nature and Youth claim that the judgement is based on an improper  assessment of the evidence and incorrect interpretation and application of the law.

Cathrine Hambro, one of the lawyers representing the environmental organizations in the case, added: “It doesn’t matter where the oil is burned.  It is our view that as long as the consequences of the oil exploration effects Norwegian inhabitants environmental rights, it is clear from the Constitution that the State is responsible for that effect.”

522,000 people from all over the world have added their names to the evidence that Greenpeace and Nature and Youth have presented in the court. Norwegian group Grandparents Climate Campaign also support the appeal.

This  lawsuit in Norway is part of a growing wave of increasingly successful cases all over the world to hold governments and corporations accountable for climate change. Only very few cases per year are allowed a direct appeal to the Supreme Court.


Notes for editors

[1] For background on the original case, click here

[2] For background on the Oslo District Court decisions, click here.

[3] in Norwegian here and here.

A Summary of the appeal can be found here

For more background on the case see this Op Ed.

Nature and Youth is the Youth branch of Friends of The Earth Norway.

Article (§ 112) of the Norwegian Constitution says that everyone has the right to a healthy environment, including future generations, and that the State has a duty to safeguard these rights. This is the first case where these constitutional protections are used.


Truls Gulowsen, head of Greenpeace Norway,  +47 901 07 904, [email protected]

Gaute Eitejord spokesperson, Nature and Youth + 47 468 92 288, [email protected]

Erik Martiniussen, communications manager, Greenpeace Norway: + 47  90 67 65 98

[email protected]