NGOs lose case against Norway over Arctic oil exploration

2018-01-04 21:14

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Oslo - A Norwegian court on Thursday dismissed a case by Greenpeace and two other NGOs which sued Norway, western Europe's largest oil producer, over licences it awarded in 2016 for oil prospecting in the Arctic.

In a verdict which could be appealed, the Oslo court ruled that the Norwegian state did not violate the Constitution by granting in May 2016 exploration licences to 13 companies, including the national Statoil giant, Americans Chevron and ConocoPhillips, and Russia's Lukoil, in the Barents Sea.

Greenpeace, the environmentalist group Natur og Ungdom (Nature and Youth) and the Grandparents Climate Campaign accused Norway of violating the Paris Agreement on climate change signed by Oslo in 2016 and a section of the country's constitution amended in 2014 that guarantees the right to a healthy environment.

The plaintiffs argued that the authorisation of new oil activities in the fragile Arctic region was against the Paris agreement which aims to keep global warming temperature rises below two degrees Celsius.

The Oslo court said it recognises everyone's right to a healthy environment but concluded that the granting of oil exploration licenses was no violation of the constitution.

The judge ruled that Norway could not be held responsible for CO2 emissions caused by hydrocarbons which it exports to other countries.

The Nordic country is the largest producer of oil and natural gas in western Europe.

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