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Why we are taking Arctic oil to court

Tuesday, October 18, 2016 20:14
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(Before It's News)

Historic Lawsuit against Arctic Oil in Oslo, 18 Oct, 2016. © Christian Åslund / Greenpeace Historic Lawsuit against Arctic Oil in Oslo, 18 Oct, 2016.

With this historic court case a new generation is now taking action to stop oil companies from kidnapping our future. Nature & Youth and Greenpeace Nordic, alongside a broad coalition, have filed an unprecedented people-powered legal case against the Norwegian government. It has the potential to become a rallying point for people resisting fossil fuel exploration around the world. This case is about holding back the oil industry at the final frontier. It is about protecting the fragile Arctic. It is about a new generation stepping up to hold governments accountable to their climate promises.

COP21: Climate March in Oslo, 28 Nov, 2015. © Monica Løvdahl / GreenpeaceClimate March in Oslo, 28 Nov, 2015

We will argue in court that we must take action to keep the Paris climate agreement on track, and we will invoke the Norwegian people’s right to a healthy and safe environment, as it is written in article 112 of Norway’s Constitution. This lawsuit demands that Norway upholds its constitutional guarantee for future generations:

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”.

Borebreen Glacier in Svalbard, 25 Jun, 2016. © Christian Åslund / GreenpeaceBorebreen Glacier in Svalbard, 25 June, 2016.

Norway was among the first countries in the world to ratify the Paris Climate agreement and has promised to reduce its emissions by ambitious targets. At the same time, the Norwegian state-owned oil company, Statoil, has announced a major new exploration campaign in the Barents Sea. They want to drill up to seven new exploratory wells in the Arctic next year.

How can it be right to agree to a 1.5 degree limit on global warming in Paris and just weeks later announce you are starting a new chapter for Arctic oil? The science is already clear, we have to keep 80% of the proven fossil-fuel reserves in the ground to avoid catastrophic climate change.

Production platform Goliat in the Barents Sea, Norway. 6 Dec, 2015. © Jiri Rezac / GreenpeaceProduction platform Goliat in the Barents Sea, Norway. 6 Dec, 2015

This will be a case of the people vs. Arctic oil. This is not just a Norwegian issue, but a global one.

As the polar ice cap melts, desperate oil companies are attempting to move even further north to drill for more of the same oil that is behind the global warming and which threatens the Arctic nature and wildlife with devastating oil spills. If we, together, don´t stop them, they could destroy one of the world’s last great wilderness areas forever and push our climate beyond saving.

This is a critical moment. Oil is warming our world and polluting our oceans. No one wants this to be the legacy we leave for future generations. But if enough people join us in this case, it can be a catalyst for similar legal actions in other parts of the world to keep the fossil fuels in the ground. As millions of us come together and take the climate crooks to court, we continue to build a movement to take back our future. Starting in the Arctic, it is time to end the oil age.

Please help us have the best chance possible – we need thousands of people to show their support - add your name here and it will be submitted to the court to demonstrate this is a global concern.

Ingrid Skjoldvær is Head of Nature & Youth Norway

Truls Gulowsen is the Head of Greenpeace Norway

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