Oslo court backs Arctic oil exploration in defeat for environmentalists

(Climate Change News, 23 Jan 2020) Greenpeace says it will appeal to the Supreme Court, arguing oil exploration violates Norway’s constitutional guarantees of a healthy environmen

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An Oslo appeals court endorsed on Thursday Norway’s plan for new oil and gas exploration in the Arctic despite environmentalists’ arguments that it will breach constitutional safeguards for nature by stoking climate change.

The lawsuit, launched in 2016 by Greenpeace and Nature & Youth, is part of a mounting trend around the world of plaintiffs turning to the courts to combat global warming and to enforce the 2015 Paris climate agreement.

“The appeal is rejected,” the three-judge panel in the Oslo Court of Appeals ruled, upholding a lower court ruling in 2018 that approved the Conservative-led government’s permits for exploration drilling in the Barents Sea.

Greenpeace said it would appeal to the Supreme Court and said the ruling included glimmers of hope. Article 112 of Norway’s constitution speaks of a right to a healthy environment for future generations.

“We are happy. It’s a big step forward for us,” head of Greenpeace Norway Frode Pleym told Climate Home News.

Pleym especially welcomed a part of the ruling that greenhouse gases from burning Norway’s fossil fuels abroad should be included in assessing any environmental damage.

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Climate Change News, 23 Jan 2020: Oslo court backs Arctic oil exploration in defeat for environmentalists