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Norway posts growth of 3.5% in 2012

Norway's economy grew by 3.5 percent last year despite a notable slowdown in the fourth quarter, Statistics Norway (SSB) said on Wednesday.

Norway posts growth of 3.5% in 2012
Photo - Scanpix

Norway's "mainland" growth figures strip out the volatile oil and shipping sectors. The Scandinavian country is one of the world's biggest oil and gas exporters.

Including the oil and shipping sectors, 2012 growth ticked in somewhatlower, at 3.2 percent.

Although that figure remains high compared to other European countries, itis significantly below the levels registered in the years prior to the global economic and financial crisis that has raged since 2008.

In the fourth quarter of last year, Norway saw mainland growth of just 0.3percent, in line with forecasts by economists surveyed by Dow Jones Newswires but considerably lower than in previous quarters.

In the third quarter, gross domestic product grew by 0.8 percent, SSB saidas it revised the figure upward by 0.1 point. The economy grew by 0.7 percent in the second quarter and 1.0 percent in the first.

A 0.1-percent decline in exports on weaker foreign demand and shrinkinghousehold consumption were responsible for the slowdown, SSB said.

Overall GDP, including oil and shipping, grew by 0.4 percent in the fourth quarter.

Norway has been largely spared from the crisis, owing primarily to the high level of oil investments in the country which have increased on high oil prices.

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OIL

NGOs take Norway to European Court over Arctic oil exploration

Two NGOs and six young climate activists have decided to take Norway to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) to demand the cancellation of oil permits in the Arctic, Greenpeace announced on Tuesday.

NGOs take Norway to European Court over Arctic oil exploration
Northern Norway. Photo by Vidar Nordli-Mathisen on Unsplash.

It’s the latest turn in a legal tussle between environmental organisations Greenpeace and Young Friends of the Earth Norway on one side and the Norwegian state on the other.

The organisations are demanding the government cancel 10 oil exploration licenses in the Barents Sea awarded in 2016, arguing it was unconstitutional.

Referring to the Paris Agreement, which seeks to limit global warming to less than two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, the organisations claim that the oil licenses violated article 112 of Norway’s constitution, guaranteeing everyone the right to a healthy environment.”

The six activists, alongside Greenpeace Nordic and Young Friends of the Earth Norway, hope that the European Court of Human Rights will hear their case and find that Norway’s oil expansion is in breach of human rights,” Greenpeace said in a statement.

In December, Norway’s Supreme Court rejected the claim brought by the organisations, their third successive legal defeat.

READ MORE: Norway sees oil in its future despite IEA’s warnings¬†

While most of the judges on the court agreed that article 112 could be invoked if the state failed to meet its climate and environmental obligations– they did not think it was applicable in this case.

The court also held that the granting of oil permits was not contrary to the European Convention on Human Rights, in part because they did not represent “a real and immediate risk” to life and physical integrity.

“The young activists and the environmental organisations argue that this judgment was flawed, as it discounted the significance of their environmental constitutional rights and did not take into account an accurate assessment of the consequences of climate change for the coming generations,” Greenpeace said.

On Friday, the Norwegian government unveiled a white paper on the country’s energy future, which still includes oil exploration despite a warning from the International Energy Agency (IEA).

The IEA recently warned that all future fossil fuel projects must be scrapped if the world is to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

The Norwegian case is an example of a global trend in which climate activists are increasingly turning to courts to pursue their agenda.

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