Oslo, Norway – The trial of Greenpeace Nordic and Natur og Ungdom (Young Friends of the Earth Norway) vs. the Norwegian government finished yesterday. The organisations argue that the recent approvals of three oil fields violate the Norwegian constitution and Norway’s international human rights commitments.
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. This should render the approvals invalid as they violate the Norwegian people’s constitutional and human rights and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, amongst other legal sources.
The Norwegian government did not contest the effects of the climate crisis but argued that Norwegian oil and gas would have a positive net effect on the climate.
“It is painful to be in court and witness the state claiming to support climate science, while in the next breath asserting that Norwegian oil fields are ‘saving’ the climate. It is a bizarre, hypocritical line of argument. This is now in the hands of the judge and we are optimistic about the upcoming judgement,” said Frode Pleym, Head of Greenpeace Norway.
The State’s Attorney tried to portray Norway as a climate leader by reiterating how “gloomy” the climate prognoses are while justifying the oil and gas expansion. Independent expert witnesses supported the Plaintiffs’ case and testified that the state’s claims are scientifically invalid.
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 must assess the global climate effects of new oil and gas fields before their approval.
“The Supreme Court ruling from 2020 was crystal clear, and we find it extremely serious that the Norwegian state has failed to follow up on the judgement. Therefore, we felt compelled to resort to the legal system once more. We feel confident of victory, and look forward to the new judgement from the Oslo district court,” said Gina Gylver, head of Natur og Ungdom.
The judge is expected to make a decision by the end of January.
Media briefing: The new climate lawsuit – Greenpeace Norge.
Photos are available in the Greenpeace Media Library.
 Witnesses providing testimony on behalf of Greenpeace Nordic and Natur og Ungdom:
- Haakon Riekeles, senior economist at Vista Analyse
- Bård Harstad, Professor at Stanford GSB and the University of Oslo
- Taran Fæhn, researcher at Statistics Norway
- Michael Lazarus, Senior Scientist and Centre Director, Stockholm Resilience Center US
- Helge Drange, Professor of Oceanography at the Department of Geophysics at the University of Bergen
- Dag Olav Hessen, Professor of Biology at the University of Oslo and head of research at the Center for Biogeochemistry in the Anthropocene (CBA)
- Wim Thiery, Professor at Vrije Universiteit Brussel, contributor to the 2019 IPCC Special Report on Climate Change and the Sixth Assessment Report in 2021 and author of the study “Intergenerational Inequities in Exposure to Climate Extremes”
Daniel Bengtsson, Press Contact Greenpeace Nordic: [email protected], +46 70 300 95 10
Frode Pleym, Head of Greenpeace Norway: [email protected], +47 97 30 73 78
Gina Gylver, Head of Natur og Ungdom (Young Friends of the Earth Norway): [email protected], +47 98 15 30 11