Greenpeace has lost its attempt to disrupt Norway’s plans to expand oil exploration operations in the Arctic after an Oslo appeals court ruled against the climate group.
Along with the Nature and Youth group, the environmental organisation had tried to argue that the activities violated people’s right to a healthy enivironment.
Article 112 of Norway’s constitution guarantees the right of current and future generations to a healthy and sustainable environment.
In response to the ruling, which was both unanimous and in line with that of a lower court, Greenpeace said that it would appeal the case to Norway’s supreme court.
The dispute revolves around a series of awards made by the government in 2015-2016 to oil giant Equinor.
The government handed out 10 Arctic exploration permits in the contested 23rd licensing round, including three in the southeastern part of the Barents Sea, near Norway’s border with Russia.
The country’s energy ministry welcomed the verdict. In a statement, it said: “The court agrees with the state that the Barents Sea petroleum activity does not contravene the constitution.”
Some exploratory wells have already been drilled, but no significant discoveries have yet been forthcoming.
A victory at the appeals court could have set a precedent for other similar cases around the world, whilst also limiting western Europe’s biggest oil and gas producer’s activities.
The case is part of a global trend of plaintiffs using a nation’s founding principles as a means of forcing countries to cut emissions.