NORWAY FACES LAWSUIT FOR OIL EXPLORATION PLANS BY GREENPEACE ACTIVISTS




Hassam Hameed-TDO-18.11.2017- Climate activists have sued the authorities for issuing 10 license’s last year in order to explore the Barents Sea. Norway’s representatives appeared at court on Tuesday who deny breaking any constitutional commitments to secure environment for future generations.

The Plaintiff is led by Greenpeace activists of Norway along with Natur og Ungdom (Nature and Youth). They are accusing Norway of breaching the Paris agreement on climate change and country’s constitution which was amended in 2014 which guarantees right to healthy environment. The law, section 112, states: “Everyone has the right to an environment that safeguards their health and to nature where production ability and diversity are preserved. Natural resources must be managed from a long-term and versatile consideration which also upholds this right for future generations”, whereas actions of the state are not coherent with the law. State is expected to challenge the interpretation of the law. State lawyers claim that this publicity stunt will cost lots of jobs. Norway’s attorney general is going argue that there is no link between the licenses awarded (to Statoil, Chevron, ConocoPhillips etc.) and the constitution.

Norway might become the first country to go fully electric-powered. 96% of country’s electricity come from hydropower, and analysts say that it is possible for Norway to operate entirely by 2050 on clean energy. Norway is to ban use of oil for heating buildings by the year of 2020. Norway would be the first country to do it. Norway is expected to ban sales of fossil fueled car by 2025, with aim to diminish domestic emission of greenhouse gases.Vidar Helgesenlaid, the nation’s Environment Minister, laid out the plans in a statement, saying: “Those using fossil oil for heating must find other options by 2020”. These plans, ministry says, will decrease greenhouse gases by 340,000 tone’s per year. Norway has promised that its public procurement policy will become deforestation-free, Norway also funds forest conservation projects and support human right programmes for communities living in forests. Norway is considered to be the most ecologically progressive country.

In contrary, Norway is the seventh largest CO2 emission exporter. Norway has never produced as much gas as it did in last 12 months which was by this October end. Statoil has emerged as the leading exporter of gas to EU. Statoil sold more because Norwegian authorities gave the permission to pump more from Norway’s Troll field, production has risen from 30 to 36 billion cubic meters. Svalbard coal mines are being refused to be bailed out because of the expenses to operate it rather than environmental concerns. Norway’s sovereign wealth funds (which amounts to $1 trillion in total) is used to invest in country’s proceeds of oil industry. 6% ($28 billion) of wealth funds are invested in oil and gas stocks. Norges has recently advised to drop its investment in oil and gas stocks, so it get less vulnerable to fluctuation in oil and gas prices. The reason to decrease in oil and gas stock is again financial.

Some analysts blame Norway to have double standards. But the advances made by Norway cannot be taken for granted, as saving planet phenomenon is quite new and Norway is taking a lead in many different arenas. Specially in the arena where its export of oil is not threatened.