September 26, 2023


Norway requested the European Court of Human Rights to dismiss a case brought in by Norwegian climate activists seeking to stop oil exploration and development in the Arctic. 

“The Attorney General for Civil Affairs respectfully requests the Court to determine that the complaint has been inadmissible,” the filing said.

Six individuals in their 20s filed a lawsuit, with support from Greenpeace and Young Friends of the Earth. This is part of a new branch of law that allows plaintiffs to go to court to argue for reducing climate change-causing emissions.

The activists asked the ECHR not to block Norway’s plans for drilling in Arctic waters for oil. They argued that this would endanger the environment and take young people from their future.

A court in the Netherlands has ordered Shell oil major to accelerate emission cuts. This is a significant win for environmentalists. However, the company has appealed the decision.

The document also highlighted Norway’s role in Europe as a reliable and predictable energy supplier, particularly after the Ukraine war. It also referred to Russia’s “instrumentalization of energy”, which environmentalists vigorously refuted.

Frode Plleym, head of Greenpeace Norge stated in a statement that “War in 2022 doesn’t legitimize oil decisions made in 2016 nor do we need new production for several additional decades to come.”

Plaintiffs in the Norwegian Climate Case argue that Norway violated fundamental human rights by permitting new oil drilling during a climate crisis.

After three Norwegian courts rejected their requests to stop exploration, the two men appealed to ECHR.

The ECHR is still to decide if the case, dubbed by activists “the People vs. Arctic Oil”, should be admissible.

Norway is the largest producer of oil and gas in western Europe, producing approximately 4 million barrels per day.


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