Norway gets green light to drill for Arctic oil

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The Supreme Court of Norway has dismissed an attempt by climate activists to disallow drilling for oil in the Arctic. The activists groups Greenpeace and Nature and Youth argued in a lawsuit that a 2016 licence for the Arctic Barents Sea was invalid based on the claim that the licence breaches Norway’s constitution and climate commitments under the Paris agreement.

However, the judge ruled 11 to four that authorities acted legally in awarding exploration licences to various companies, including Lundin Petroleum AB, Equinor ASA and Aker BP SA. The court said that the oil drilling permits were not in breach of the Norwegian constitution’s right to a clean environment or the European Commission on Human Rights.

“The verdict is important because it protects a long-standing Norwegian tradition where difficult political issues are assessed, debated and finally weighed by elected representatives in the parliament,” said Norway’s Petroleum and Energy Minister Tina Bru.

An appeal to the Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, France is under consideration said Frode Pleym, head of Greenpeace Norway. Climate activists have already filed similar suits against 33 countries.

Norway is Western Europe’s largest oil-producing country.

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