For Immediate Release
Youth File Lawsuit Against Norwegian Government over Arctic Oil
OSLO, Norway - Today young people filed a constitutional climate lawsuit against the Norwegian government for allowing oil companies to drill for new oil in the Arctic Barents Sea, endangering young people and future generations with more climate pollution. The plaintiffs, Nature and Youth – the largest youth-led organization in Norway – and Greenpeace Norway, argue that Norway has violated citizens’ and future generations’ constitutional right to a healthy environment, joining youth around the world who are taking actions against their governments.
“We will argue in court that the Norwegian government has an obligation to keep its climate promises and will invoke the people’s right to a healthy environment for ours and future generations. This is the People vs. Arctic oil,” said Ingrid Skjoldvær from Nature and Youth.
The lawsuit demands that Norway uphold its constitutional guarantee for future generations as it is written in article 112 of Norway´s Constitution:
“Every person has the right to an environment that is conducive to health and to a natural environment whose productivity and diversity are maintained. Natural resources shall be managed on the basis of comprehensive long-term considerations which will safeguard this right for future generations as well. The authorities of the state shall take measures for the implementation of these principles”.
“Signing [the Paris Agreement] while throwing open the door to Arctic oil drilling is a dangerous act of hypocrisy. By allowing oil companies to drill in the Arctic, Norway risks undermining global efforts to address climate change. When the government fails to redress this we have to do what we can to stop it,” said Truls Gulowsen, Greenpeace Norway.
“Youth are rising up globally and taking their governments to court to seek protection of their inalienable rights to a stable climate system,” said Julia Olson, executive director of Our Children’s Trust, and lead counsel on another climate lawsuit brought by 21 young people against the United States government. “This case filed today in Norway builds on similar cases brought by young people in Sweden, Pakistan, Uganda, the Philippines, and in states across the U.S. Our Children’s Trust is working in partnership with young people around the world to elevate their voices and provide them with legal and scientific support. This youth legal movement is growing.”
The lawsuit follows on the footsteps of other climate actions led by young people to hold governments’ accountable. One month ago, young people from around the U.S. had their landmark constitutional climate lawsuit heard before U.S. District Court Judge Ann Aiken, and during that same week, Swedish youth sued Sweden for moving forward with a disastrous coal deal.
Our Children's Trust is a nonprofit organization, elevating the voice of youth, those with most to lose in the climate crisis, to secure the legal right to a healthy atmosphere and stable climate on behalf of present and future generations. We lead the global human rights and environmental justice campaign to implement enforceable science-based Climate Recovery Plans that will return atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration to levels below 350 ppm. Youth have secured judicial rulings in their favor in WA, NM and MA, and in their landmark U.S. federal climate lawsuit, and have multiple other cases pending. www.ourchildrenstrust.org/
Natur og ungdom (“Nature and Youth”) is Norway’s largest environmental organization for young people. The organization was founded in 1967 and is an independent youth organization with an independent board, national assembly and national congress. As of 31 December 2015, the organization had 7,672 members and 88 local chapters throughout Norway. One of the organization’s objectives is to strive to ensure far-sighted utilization, protection and fairer distribution of the world's resources. In accordance with its Articles of Association, the organization has resolved to base its work on the premise that the future of the human race is dependent on the preservation of the natural environment’s functions, productivity and diversity.
Greenpeace is an independent global campaigning organization that acts to change attitudes and behavior, to protect and conserve the environment and to promote peace by: catalyzing an energy revolution, defending our oceans, protecting the world’s ancient forests, working for disarmament and peace, creating a toxic free future, and campaigning for sustainable agriculture. Greenpeace is present in more than 55 countries across Europe, the Americas, Asia, Africa, and the Pacific. www.greenpeace.org
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