Environmental NGOs Greenpeace Nordic and Natur og Ungdom (Young Friends of the Earth Norway) are taking the Norwegian government to court, arguing the recent approvals of three oil fields violates the Norwegian constitution and Norway’s international human rights commitments, as well as including the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. The organisations demand an immediate halt to the ongoing development of the fields.
The new legal action builds upon legal precedent established in another climate lawsuit brought by the same organisations. It resulted in a judgment 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 has an obligation to assess the global climate effects of new oil and gas fields prior to their approval.
Frode Pleym, Head of Greenpeace in Norway, said: “The Norwegian government is hellbent on opening new oil fields that will produce fossil fuels decades into the future. It is blatantly disregarding the climate, the science, and even our own Supreme Court in its effort to please the oil industry. We are committed to stopping it by holding the government accountable to its own laws.”
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, rendering the approvals invalid.
The organisations also argue the state is violating its obligation to take children’s best interests into account when approving the oil fields, violating both the Norwegian constitution and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
“It’s long overdue for the government to begin considering youth and children’s best interests. Young people like myself have to pay for the government’s immoral and unscientific oil policy, as we grow up on a planet fuelled by climate chaos. The world has already found more oil than we can ever use, and approving new fields violates our right to a healthy environment,” said Gina Gylver, Head of Natur og Ungdom.
The environmental organisations have applied for a temporary injunction on the construction of all three fields, one of which, the Breidablikk, is already undergoing development. The organisations demand that the development cease until the court has assessed the legal basis. People around the world are rising up to fossil fuel companies and governments. People-powered legal actions which are on the increase are part of a symphony of resistance to hold those responsible for the multiple crises accountable, and to create change towards a more just and peaceful world.