OSLO – Climate activists won a court case in Norway against the state over development plans at a handful of oil and gas fields under the sea off the Nordic country’s coast.
Greenpeace Norway and Young Friends of the Earth argued that development plans at the Breidablikk, Tyrving and Yggdrasil fields, approved by the ministry of energy in 2021 and 2023, are invalid. On Jan 18, the Oslo District Court concluded that the impact of combustion emissions must be considered by law, and that no impact assessment of such emissions had been carried out in connection with the decisions in question, it said.
The ruling is a breakthrough for environmental groups. In an earlier case, the same two organisations, along with six young climate activists, had argued that allowing oil exploration in the Arctic during a climate crisis breaches fundamental human rights. After failing to persuade the Supreme Court in that case and after a series of appeals, the groups submitted their case to the European Court of Human Rights.
In Jan 18’s ruling, the state was prohibited from making other decisions that require a valid development plan approval for Breidablikk, Yggdrasil and Tyrving until the validity of the decisions has been legally determined. The state was also ordered to pay court costs.
Production at the Breidablikk field in the North Sea already started in October.
“The judgment establishes that the Breidablikk, Yggdrasil and Tyrving oil and gas fields were approved on an illegal basis and that production must be stopped immediately,” Mr Frode Pleym, head of Greenpeace Norway, said in a statement. “We expect a halt to all further developments.”
The energy ministry said it will now thoroughly review the judgment together with the government attorney.
“We disagree with the judgment and the ruling on temporary injunction,” Energy Minister Terje Aasland said in an emailed statement. “Based on this, we will consider appealing.” BLOOMBERG
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