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Greenpeace Nordic and Others v. Norway

Jurisdiction: European Court of Human Rights


Side A: Young Friends of the Earth (Nature and Youth) and 6 individuals (Individual ngo)


Side A: Greenpeace Norway (Ngo)


Side B: Norway (Government)


Core objectives: Whether Norway has violated the fundamental rights of Norwegian citizens through the adoption of the decision to license new blocks of Barents Sea for development of deep-sea oil and gas extraction and through the failure to take the necessary measure to address the risk of the climate crisis.


Summary
After having exhausted all nation remedies available, with the final decision from the Norwegian Supreme Court issued on December 22, 2020, two NGOs (Greenpeace Nordic and Young Friends of the Earth (Nature and Youth)) and six individuals, filed an application before the European Court of Human Rights against the Norwegian government. For a summary of the case in Norway, see here

They argue that the Norwegian government (the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy), in issuing new licenses for oil and gas exploration in the Arctic (Barents Sea) that will allow new fossil fuels to market from 2035 and beyond, violated plaintiff's rights under Articles 2 (right to life) and 8 (right to respect for private life and family life and home) of the European Convention on Human Rights. They also allege that the Norwegian government has failed to adopt necessary and appropriate measures to address the risk of the climate crisis. Respondent has further failed to declare, describe and assess total climate effects, including exported emissions, of the continued and expanded extraction, thereby also infringing the Applicants’ rights. In addition, they argue that the Norwegian courts failed to adequately assess their claims and thus failed to provide plaintiffs access to an effective domestic remedy under Article 13 of the ECtHR.

On December 16, 2021, the Court characterized the case as a potential “impact case” and communicated it to the Norwegian State. On January 10, 2022, the Court published a list of questions to the parties and has given the Norwegian Government until 13 April, 2022 to respond to the allegations of the environmental groups that new oil and gas drilling in the Arctic breaches fundamental freedoms.

On April 27, 2022, Norway asked the European Court of Human Rights to dismiss the case or to find that there has been no violation. In its reply, the Norwegian State argues that the complaint should be declared inadmissible, and claims that Russia’s 2022 invasion of Ukraine justifies the search for more oil and gas today, thus increasing greenhouse gas emissions for another 30 years or more.

The following have been granted permission to intervene and submit their written comments: (i) the United Nations Special Rapporteurs on Human Rights and the Environment, and on Toxics and Human rights, (ii) ClientEarth, (iii) the Norwegian Grandparents’ Climate Campaign, (iv) the European Network of National Human Rights Institutions, (v) the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ International) and (vi) ICJ Norway.

Case documents

from the Grantham Research Institute
from the Grantham Research Institute
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