Arctic Oil: The verdict is in

Last November, we made history together as our movement launched an unprecedented people-powered legal challenge to Arctic Oil. 

More than half a million people, including 25,000 Australians, submitted their names and asked the Norwegian Government to withdraw new oil licenses in the Arctic.

Late last week, we finally received the verdict. Sadly, the court ruled that the Norwegian Government is not responsible for breaching its constitution by drilling for climate-wrecking oil in the fragile Arctic.

That’s a big disappointment. However, the judgement does acknowledge the article in the Norwegian constitution which requires the protection of the environment for future generations, which we believe is a real step in the right direction. Imagine if Australian law recognised our right to a healthy climate!

Even though the judgement is not what we hoped for, it shows that we’re on the right track. The lawsuit has helped put the people-powered battle against the oil industry and climate change higher on the agenda than ever before.

Kayaktivists (pictured left to right), Hanna Jauhiainen of Finland, Miriam Friedrich from Austria, Andreas Widlund form Sweden, and Dalia Kellou from Austria.

The next step is for us to convince our leaders that we cannot continue to drill for more oil in the face of climate change. This journey has just begun.

Over half a million people from around the world signed up to support this court case. That’s been crucial – it’s ordinary people like you and me that will win this for our movement.

This court case will serve as inspiration to people everywhere taking their governments to court to protect their basic human right to a healthy environment. We are already seeing people here in Australia and around the world taking similar action and holding governments accountable in the US, in New Zealand, in Peru and many others. And it won’t be stopping any time soon.

We must stay strong. From the Arctic to the Canadian Tar Sands and in the Great Australian Bight, people have begun to break the stranglehold of Big Oil.

The demand for immediate action against climate change may not have been heard by the Norwegian courts this time, but every oil company has heard the millions of people across the world who want Arctic protection. The genie is well and truly out of the bottle.

We will now take time to read the judgment thoroughly and assess a possible appeal. The battle of choosing people over oil has only just begun. Read more on the decision here.

Stay tuned.