Oslo, Norway, 9 June 2020 – The Supreme Court of Norway announced it will hear an appeal in The People v. Arctic Oil climate case on 4 November. Environmental organisations look forward to the people’s right to a healthy environment finally being upheld in the country’s highest court.
«We the people have a constitutionally granted right to a healthy environment. Now, it’s up to the Supreme Court of Norway to make it a reality. We believe that the Supreme Court must agree that actively pursuing new oil-drilling in the fragile Arctic is a violation of the Constitution. Whatever the outcome may be, this judgement will be historic, and have real consequences for the world and for our human rights,» said Frode Pleym, head of Greenpeace Norway.
The Court has set aside seven full days to hear the appeal and it will be heard in plenary by all 19 Supreme Court Justices. Only ten per cent of cases are heard in the Supreme Court, and this many days being set aside is an even rarer occurrence.
“The Supreme Court’s decision will either have fatal or fantastic consequences for our future. It is crucial that people recognise the importance of that. Leading up to the hearing we will be making the people of Norway aware that our Constitutional right to a healthy environment is being adjudicated in the highest court of our country,” said Therese Hugstmyr Woie, head of Young Friends of the Earth Norway.
In 2016, Young Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace sued the Norwegian state for the opening of new oil drilling in the Barents Sea during the 23rd licensing round. The Grandparents Climate Campaign and Friends of the Earth Norway later joined the court case. The People v. Arctic Oil case aims to protect the right to a healthy environment for current and future generations by stopping the expansion of new oil exploration and extraction in the Arctic. The lawsuit is based on the Norwegian Constitution, which states that the state shall protect the right to a safe and healthy environment for current and future generations. Human rights are at stake by government action and inaction in the era of climate change. These rights have been protected by lawsuits in many jurisdictions around the world, and some have won in court, most recently in the Netherlands and England.
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