Pacific Island Represent bears witness at historic People vs Arctic Oil trial in Oslo

Press release - 14 November, 2017
Oslo, November 14, 2017: Pacific Island Represent activists are in attendance at an historic court case where the Norwegian government is attempting to defend its unsustainable and climate-threatening Arctic drilling operations.

Greenpeace Nordic and Nature and Youth are suing the Norwegian government for opening up new oil fields for drilling in the Arctic, arguing that this is a violation of the Paris Climate Agreement and the right to a healthy and safe environment for future generations as stated in the Norwegian constitution.

Norway’s state owned oil company Statoil, has already conducted exploratory drilling in the contested areas.

“The expansion of fossil fuel extraction directly contradicts the Paris Agreement’s aim of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees,” Pacific Island Represent activist Samu Kuridrani said.

“The Norwegian government has signed up to the Paris Agreement but any steps they take to reduce emissions by doing things like banning petrol and diesel cars are negated by their plans to expand oil drilling operations in the Arctic.

“Fossil fuels cause climate change, which for us in the Pacific means more frequent and intense cyclones and rising sea levels that threaten to wipe entire nations off the map. The Norwegian government cannot commit to containing global warming and then go and open up new oil fields.”

The science that underpins the Paris agreement is clear: at least 80 percent of existing fossil fuel reserves have to stay in the ground. If the world is to achieve the Paris target limiting global warming to 1.5°C, all new fossil fuel developments must be stopped.

If Statoil follows through on its plans to drill in the Arctic the oil would not hit the market for 10 to 20 years, locking in future emissions.

Statoil have also recently expanded their operations into other risky oil fields with plans currently in place to drill in the rough, deep waters of the Great Australian Bight.

“We’ve come all the way from Fiji to bear witness at this trial and show the Norwegian government that its operations have far-reaching consequences. But we didn’t need to travel this far to find an example of Statoil breaking Norway’s Paris commitments and exacerbating climate change in the Pacific, with their rigs eyeing up waters off the southern coastline of Pacific neighbour Australia” Pacific Island Represent activist Alisi Nacewa said.

“Statoil’s appetite for risky frontier oil knows no bounds. The earth is under assault from Statoil in both the Northern and Southern hemispheres. The company is determined to pollute the ocean, destroy marine life and risk workers lives in its own Arctic waters but it acts with equally reckless abandon on the other side of the world in the Great Australian Bight.”


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