(Oslo) Two environmental NGOs announced on Thursday that they were taking the Norwegian state to court for violating human rights and the Constitution, the day after Oslo gave the green light for new oil and gas projects in the country.
Failed in the past for a similar complaint, the Nordic branch of Greenpeace and Natur og Ungdom are protesting against the planned development of three new oil fields, Tyrving, Breidablikk and Yggdrasil, to which the Norwegian government has given its approval.
“The Norwegian government is bent on opening up new oil fields that will generate fossil fuels for decades to come,” Greenpeace Norway leader Frode Pleym said in a statement.
“He blatantly ignores climate, science and even our own Supreme Court in his efforts to please the oil industry,” he added.
The Ministry of Oil and Energy on Wednesday gave the green light to 19 oil and gas projects with a total value of more than 200 billion crowns ($24.5 billion).
These projects provide for the extension of existing hydrocarbon fields and investments to increase the hydrocarbon recovery rate, but also the commissioning of new deposits, including Yggdrasil carried by the Aker BP group.
Tyrving, also piloted by Aker BP, and Breidablikk, operated by the giant Equinor, had received previous authorizations.
To justify its decision, the government cited employment, skills development, but also the need for Norway, which became Europe’s largest gas supplier last year in the wake of the war in Ukraine, can continue to supply the continent with energy.
In December 2020, the Norwegian Supreme Court dismissed Greenpeace and Natur og Ungdom, which demanded the cancellation of the attribution in 2016 of ten oil exploration licenses in the Barents Sea, in the Arctic.
The country’s highest court had ruled that article 112 of the Constitution guaranteeing everyone the right to a healthy environment could only be invoked if the State failed to assume environmental and climatic responsibilities, which was not the case according to her.
This time, the two NGOs claim that the climate impact studies of the three future oil fields are “either non-existent or highly inadequate” and that the Norwegian state violates the obligation to safeguard the interests of children guaranteed by the Constitution and by the International Convention on the Rights of the Child.
The Ministry of Petroleum and Energy believes that its decisions are not unconstitutional.
“The government is respecting its commitments after the Paris Treaty” on the climate, reacted the Secretary of State, Andreas Bjelland Eriksen.
“At the same time, we have to contribute to energy security during the transition […] The authorizations we have given ensure that Europe has access to energy in the future too”.