Activists take Arctic oil fight to European court

Climate activists aiming to stop new oil and gas drilling in Norway's Arctic territory are taking the issue to the European Court of Human Rights.

Environmental groups Greenpeace Nordic and Young Friends of the Earth Norway alongside six activists have filed an application to the court arguing that Norway has breached fundamental human rights by allowing new oil drilling in the midst of a climate crisis. In December, the Supreme Court of Norway dismissed their attempt to halt oil exploration in the Arctic.

Their latest effort follows a Dutch court ruling last month that ordered Shell to sharply reduce its CO2 emissions this decade, and a scenario published by the IEA warning that new fossil-fuel investments must stop if the world is to stand a chance of cutting net emissions to zero by 2050.

Norway's oil policy has drawn criticism from politicians and climate activists who say the country's approach is at odds with its drive to cut emissions. Last year the Norwegian parliament approved fiscal stimulus measures for the oil industry to spur spending and protect jobs. And only last week the Norwegian government published a white paper that showed no change to oil policy, although there was an increased focus on renewables.

"The petroleum sector will remain a significant factor in the Norwegian economy in the years to come, although not on the same scale as today," the government said. "The government will facilitate long-term economic growth in the petroleum industry within the framework of our climate policy and our commitments under the Paris Agreement."