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All of us vs. Arctic Oil

When politicians put oil and profit before people and planet, we need to hold them accountable.

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“I’m 14 years old. I live every day scared that with every minute I stay on this earth it is deteriorating further and further. Please, help save my Earth.”

This is a message from Alyssa from South Africa to the Norwegian government, raising her worries about their plans to open up the Arctic for oil drilling.

Oil rigs are lined up on the west coast of Norway. Greenpeace projects messages submitted by the public to the Norwegian government during the 2nd round of the People vs Arctic Oil court case.

Why is Norway, one of the richest countries in the world, chasing new oil and putting our future at risk, when we all know how urgently we need to phase out oil, coal and gas?

I don’t have the answer. After two weeks in the appeal court of Oslo, the government is still speaking out of sync with the established climate science when they argue that Norway should be allowed to search for and export more oil. 

Being a rather small country, Norway stands out with a disproportionately large climate footprint in the world. With its massive oil production, the country is the 7th biggest exporter of CO2 emissions on the planet. Their total exported greenhouse gas emissions from oil and gas are ten times bigger than domestic emissions.

But the government refuses to take responsibility for the exported oil burned outside its own borders.

Now, with the support of more than 500,000 of you, Greenpeace Nordic and Nature and Youth have taken the Norwegian government to court for its plan to expand oil exploration. For the first time, this legal case is opposing drilling for new oil and gas based on the Paris Agreement. It is the first time Article 112 of the Norwegian Constitution – safeguarding the right to a healthy and sustainable environment for present and future generations – is being tested in court. 

The second round in this historic lawsuit is coming to an end, and we want to say a huge THANK YOU to all of you who are supporting this climate battle. It has been extremely uplifting to follow the many peaceful protests at Norwegian embassies and consulates around the world. 

4,000 people from 93 countries shared powerful statements with the government. Your message is clear. This is about our future.  

We projected your words on the Parliament in Oslo. We visited the long lines of oil rigs along Norway’s west coast and we have shouted out your messages over Oslo from a huge megaphone at Holmenkollen, the iconic ski jump overseeing the capital.

What would you say to the Norwegian Government in court?

Here are some of our favourites.

“I’m 21 and my future is at stake. Listen to the scientists, the time for oil is over!” – Oscar, Norway

“I am 72 now. In my very first geography lesson at school, more than 60 years ago, the teacher showed us, that global sea-level would rise about 11 meters, if we humans didn’t change the way of life in the global society! We have long known the conditions, but time is up NOW!” – Bjarke, Denmark

Personal statements collected from around the world projected onto the Norwegian parliament.

“As a youth of this world, I have always wanted a future that’s why I strike every Friday as part of Fridays for future. I hope that we can stop this.” – Calypso, Canada

“Fossil fuels must stay in the ground if this planet is to have any chance of a future. Please do not let greed destroy the future of all our children, grandchildren, and all generations to come.” – Katharine, New Zealand

“Is Norway a nation or an oil company?” – Jay, United Kingdom

Personal collected from around the world, projected onto the Norwegian parliament.

“Norway is a rich country and should step up and act responsibly in order to reduce impact on the climate crisis. Use your wealth to take a leading position in using wind and water energy. Not only for your own future generations but for the World.” – Rikke, Denmark

“Common sense. If as a government you are turning on the green light to do this then you are 100% liable for all emissions caused – despite where you are. You will be affecting me and all future generations. CO2 does not discriminate.Theresa, Canada


Frode Pleym is the director of Greenpeace Norway