OSLO, Nov. 14 (Xinhua) -- An Oslo court on Tuesday started hearing a climate lawsuit brought by environmentalist groups against the Norwegian government over its plans for Arctic oil exploration.
Greenpeace's Nordic branch and the Nature and Youth have jointly filed the lawsuit against the Norwegian government for granting new oil licenses in the Arctic Barents Sea, saying the decision contravenes the Paris climate agreement and violates the Norwegian Constitution.
"The right to a safe and healthy environment for current and future generations" is granted by the Norwegian Constitution, the two environmentalist groups said.
They claimed that this is the first case that challenges new oil and gas drillings on the basis of the Paris agreement, and it is also the first time that Article 112 of the Norwegian Constitution will be tested in court, hoping that the lawsuit "could set an international precedent."
The subject of the lawsuit is Norway's decision made in the summer of 2016 to grant 10 new oil drilling licenses on the Norwegian continental shelf in Barents Sea to 13 oil companies, including Norway's Statoil, U.S. energy corporation Chevron and Russia's Lukoil.
The Ministry of Petroleum and Energy, representing the Norwegian government, has dismissed the plaintiffs' argument, insisting that the decision to award the production licenses is "valid" and has "a clear legal foundation," according to a document from the government to Oslo District Court.
The case is expected to run in the court until Nov. 23.