An Oslo court has approved Norwegian government’s plans to expand oil exploration activities in the Arctic.
The court acquitted the government while dismissing a lawsuit filed against it by Greenpeace Norway, Nature and Youth and the Grandparents Climate Campaign.
The environmental groups had alleged that an oil licensing round in 2015 in the Arctic that gave licenses to Statoil, Chevron and other firms had breached the constitution of Norway.
However, the Oslo district court was not convinced with their arguments and stated that the oil and gas plans of the government were acceptable.
The court’s ruling was welcomed by the Norwegian oil industry lobby group, reported Reuters.
Norwegian Oil and Gas Association spokesman Tommy Hansen was quoted by the publication as saying: “We’ve previously said that this is a matter of politics, and politics should be made in parliament, not in the court.”
The two environmental groups were ordered to compensate the government’s legal costs of NOK580,000 ($71,700).
Their arguments that Norway should be held responsible for greenhouse gas emissions from the oil and gas it exports to other countries as well could not cut any ice with the Oslo court.
Further, the court ruled that the risks of drilling in the Arctic were limited.
Greenpeace Norway head Truls Gulowsen said: “While it's good news that the judgment acknowledges the Environmental Article in the Norwegian Constitution, it's very disappointing that it neglects Norway’s responsibility for damaging the planet’s climate.
“The demand for immediate action against climate change may not have been heard by the Norwegian government or courts, but every environment defender has heard the millions of people across the world who want Arctic protection.
“This decision should serve to shape the playbook which is being used everywhere by people taking their governments’ to court to protect their basic human right to a healthy environment."
Greenpeace claimed that more than 5, 00,000 people had supported the lawsuit by submitting their names while asking the government to take back the new oil licenses in the Arctic.