Norwegian politicians will today consider whether to expand oil and gas drilling in the offshore “marginal ice zone” - where the Arctic sea ice meets the open ocean - or declare it a no-go zone to fossil fuel development.
In a letter sent on behalf of the 14 children, Hausfeld asks Norway to include knowledgeable child activists in any decision the country takes on what activity to allow in the marginal ice zone and any delegation sent to the United Nations’ COP26 climate summit in 2021. This is in accordance with Norway’s obligations under the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
This is the second letter the children have sent to Norway, and is part of a wider campaign and legal action they are pursuing. In December, the children sent warning letters to Norway and Canada urging them to act on their international climate leadership by ending support for domestic fossil fuel expansion. Norway has not replied to the December letter, despite its obligation under the Convention on the Rights of the Child to listen to children on matters that affect their right to life.
The children filed a petition with the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child in September 2019 against Argentina, Brazil, France, Germany and Turkey, accusing them of perpetuating the climate crisis by promoting fossil fuel expansion. By signing the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the countries have committed to protecting children from direct, imminent and foreseeable risks to their health and wellbeing - including climate change, the children say.
As climate change causes the Arctic sea ice to shrink, there is growing industry pressure to expand oil and gas exploration. However, the science shows that existing fossil fuel projects already hold enough oil, gas and coal to push global warming beyond 2 degrees Celsius - and past the Paris Agreement’s commitment to limit warming to well below 2°C, and aim for 1.5°C. Research also shows that children alive today face increased risks of death and disease in a world that is fundamentally altered from fossil fuel emissions.
The Covid-19 pandemic reminds the world that governments must act as swiftly as possible, following the best available science, to protect their people from threats to life and health.
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This material is distributed by Hausfeld LLP on behalf of Environmental Youth Activists. Additional information is available at the Department of Justice, Washington, DC.