In Norway, the federal government is being brought to court in a Climate lawsuit regarding the government’s permission to explore and expand oil production in the Barents Sea. The plaintiffs accuse Norway of violating the country’s constitution and the Paris climate agreement. Its NGOs, Young Friends of the Earth, led by Ingrid Skjoldvær, and Greenpeace Norway, led by Truls Gulowsen, recently sued Norway for violating their Constitution § 112, by having advertised exploration licenses in the Arctic Barents Sea.
Petroleum-producing countries such as Norway have a major responsibility towards environmental protection, in opposition to the country’s Ministry of Petroleum’s current stance that everything that is good for companies is good for the state. The Paris agreement did not change the Norway’s petroleum policy. This is where the fight stands. Does the future have a chance in Norway? Is it possible to ‘’fan away the oil-fog’’ and make Norway accountable?
Climate lawsuits are a matter of principle. Is it possible for the court to apply the constitution to halt disastrous political decisions in Norway? Lawsuits are currently the only possibility for legal change of political direction to fulfill the Paris agreement, since Greens only have one parliamentary representative, while remaining parliamentary representatives voted in favour of 23 licensing rounds. The outcome of the lawsuit is expected to be announced in January 2018; we plan to provide updates in an upcoming blog posting.
A Brief Interview with Ingrid Skjolvær, Leader for Young Friends of the Earth
Ingrid Eline Morsund Skjoldvær (1993) is a Norwegian environmentalist and leader of Young Friends of the Earth. Her collaboration with Truls Gulowsen (head of Greenpeace Norway) has been a success, despite their age difference (he is twice as old as her). Ingrid has many qualities that have contributed to her & her team’s success: hard-working, she is good at delegating, is always up-to-date on current affairs, she clearly expresses her views & when she is dissatisfied, and is good at seeing the global picture.
I asked Ingrid how NGOs went from being activists to becoming prosecutors. She claims that this has been a natural evolution, with the combination of her and other NGOs’ hard work against the government’s granting of 23 oil & gas exploration licensing rounds (which unfortunately still went forward) and the reinforcement of Norwegian Constitution §112 in 2014.
Greenpeace Norway and Nature and Youth have had a huge job to jointly carry out the lawsuit, each focusing on equally important yet complementary tasks, for example legal preparations, fundraising, scheduling events, and coordinating participants.
Although Ingrid is lucky to have grown up in a country with relatively good gender equality, I still asked her for advice for women who wish to become leaders. Her advice: If you want to become a leader, you must try to take your space. Women often think that one has to be very prepared, but everything does not have to be thought through in advance; you can take one step at a time. Education is important, but you do not have to be good at everything — you can ask for help from others and delegate.