Nature and Youth and Greenpeace Nordic have filed a legal case against the Norwegian Government for allowing companies to drill for new oil in the Arctic Barents Sea. 

The groups claimed that Norway is violating the Paris Agreement and the people's constitutional right to a safe environment by allowing drilling in Arctic waters.

Norway was among the first countries in the world to approve the Paris Agreement, which is set to come into force.

By ratifying, the country said it will reduce its emissions and help limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C.

"Signing an international climate agreement while throwing open the door to Arctic oil drilling is a dangerous act of hypocrisy."

Nature and Youth leader Ingrid Skjoldvær said: “We will argue in court that the Norwegian Government has an obligation to keep its climate promises and will invoke the people's right to a healthy environment for ours and future generations.”

Greenpeace Norway spokesman Truls Gulowsen said: “Signing an international climate agreement while throwing open the door to Arctic oil drilling is a dangerous act of hypocrisy.

“By allowing oil companies to drill in the Arctic, Norway risks undermining global efforts to address climate change. When the government fails to redress this we have to do what we can to stop it.”

Simultaneously, Norway has opened new oil licence rounds and allowed Statoil, as well as other oil companies to start a new exploration campaign in the Barents Sea.

These companies plan to drill up to seven new exploratory wells in 2017 in the Barents Sea.

Statoil (Norway), Capricorn and Centrica (UK), Chevron and ConocoPhillips (US), DEA (Germany), Aker BP (Norway), Idemitsu (Japan), LUKOIL (Russia), Lundin Petroleum (Sweden), OMV (Austria), PGNiG (Norway/ Poland) and Tullow (UK / Africa) have new licence blocks in the Barents Sea.