January 23, 2020 / 12:06 AM / a month ago

Norway court to rule in Arctic oil drilling case

FILE PHOTO: A view of the Borgarting appeals court in Oslo, Norway April 24, 2019. REUTERS/Gwladys Fouche/File Photo

OSLO (Reuters) - An Oslo appeals court will on Thursday rule on a lawsuit that seeks to stop Norway’s plans for more oil exploration in the Arctic on the grounds that it violates people’s right to a healthy environment.

The court is expected to either confirm or dismiss a 2018 ruling by a lower court that said giving oil exploration licenses in the Arctic to Equinor and other oil firms in 2015-2016 was in line with Norway’s constitution.

The case, which was brought by Greenpeace and the Nature and Youth group, may still be appealed to Norway’s supreme court.

The lawsuit is seen as part of an emerging branch of law worldwide where plaintiffs seek to use a nation’s founding principles to make the case for curbing emissions.

The green groups argued the government decision contravened local and international law. They cited article 112 of Norway’s constitution, which guarantees the right of current and future generations to a healthy and sustainable environment, as well as the Paris climate agreement to limit global warming.

Oil and gas extraction has helped make Norway one of the wealthiest nations on earth, with the third-highest per-capita gross domestic product and a $1.1 trillion sovereign wealth fund stemming from petroleum income.

The government handed out 10 Arctic exploration permits in the contested 23rd licensing round, including three in the southeastern part of the Barents Sea, near Norway’s border with Russia. Oil companies have already drilled exploration wells in some licenses, but have not made any significant discoveries. Aker BP plans to drill a well in one license later this year.

A win at the appeals court could set a precedent for other climate cases globally, while limiting exploration by western Europe’s biggest oil and gas producer, the plaintiffs said at the outset of the trial.

But while environmental groups said more petroleum resources had already been discovered than could be exploited without breaching the Paris goals, the government argued that any decision to drill was for parliament to make, not the courts.

Editing by Gwladys Fouche; editing by David Evans

0 : 0
  • narrow-browser-and-phone
  • medium-browser-and-portrait-tablet
  • landscape-tablet
  • medium-wide-browser
  • wide-browser-and-larger
  • medium-browser-and-landscape-tablet
  • medium-wide-browser-and-larger
  • above-phone
  • portrait-tablet-and-above
  • above-portrait-tablet
  • landscape-tablet-and-above
  • landscape-tablet-and-medium-wide-browser
  • portrait-tablet-and-below
  • landscape-tablet-and-below