Climate change advocates are suing Oslo over plans for more oil drilling in the Arctic.
Norwegian climate activists have called on the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) to rule against Norway’s plans to drill more oil in the Arctic, activists said on Tuesday, arguing that exploring the country deprives young people of their future.
The lawsuit, filed by six people between the ages of 20 and 27, as well as Greenpeace and Young Friends of the Earth, is part of an emerging legal branch around the world, where plaintiffs go to court to defend the reduction of emissions that cause climate change.
In the Netherlands, a court recently ordered Shell to reduce its emissions in a lawsuit filed by citizens arguing that the Anglo-Dutch oil company was violating its human rights.
“Environmentalists argue that by allowing new oil drilling in the midst of a climate crisis, Norway is violating fundamental human rights,” activists said in a statement announcing their appeal to the ECHR.
The announcement came as Equinor, a government-controlled majority oil company, announced on Tuesday that it would accelerate investments in renewable energy and continue to increase oil production for the next five years.
The Norwegian Ministry of Oil and Energy declined to comment on the demand.
However, three Norwegian courts have ruled in favor of the government, but included it in a Supreme Court verdict last December, exhausting national legal options.
“We must act now to limit the irreversible damage to our climate and ecosystems to ensure subsistence for future generations,” said Ella Marie Haetta Isaksen, 23, one of the activists who called on the ECHR to take over the Norwegian case.
Lasse Eriksen Bjoern, 24, an activist for the indigenous Sami people of northern Norway, said climate change was already endangering a way of life.
“Sami culture is closely related to the use of nature and fishing is key … A threat to our oceans is a threat to our people,” he said.
The rules of the ECHR require that applicants be directly and personally affected by alleged infringements, while their judgments are binding on the countries affected.
Now the court has to decide whether the case, considered by activists as “the people against the Arctic oil”, is admissible.
Norway, the largest oil and gas producer in Western Europe with a daily production of about four million barrels of oil equivalent, said last week that it planned to continue current oil policies.