An attempt to stymie Norway’s oil industry expanding Artic exploration/exploitation, with a case to invalidate licenses based on the country’s constitutional right to a clean environment, was rejected by Norway’s Supreme Court on December 22nd.
The court ruled 11 to 4 in favour of the state, concluding that a set of oil drilling permits in the Arctic, given in 2016, were not in breach of either the Norwegian Constitution’s right to a clean environment or the European Convention on Human Rights. The judges said that the right to a clean environment did not bar the government from drilling for offshore oil, and that Norway did not legally carry the responsibility for emissions stemming from oil it has exported. The Norwegian Government has set ambitious climate change goals, but has continued to benefit from the oil industry. The four judges who dissented said that a procedural mistake had been made in granting approval, and that the government had failed to assess any potential climate emissions stemming from the oil that would be exported.
Norway’s Supreme Court Makes Way for More Arctic Drilling, New York Times, 2020-12-22