Norwegian climate policy has stalled; it is fundamentally isolated from broader energy and economic policies, particularly the country's petroleum industry. Human rights can reinvigorate climate politics by recognising direct threats to global rights from climate change, and indirect threats from existing climate policy to workers and communities dependent on carbon-intensive development and jobs. A critical, structure-orientated human rights approach can overcome “problem solving”, legalistic approaches and hegemonic “green economy” narratives, offering an analytical framework that highlights the (largely North–South) “climate justice” claims behind the climate crisis, and a basis for action for social movements to demand rapid transitions that address these justice issues while securing human rights. This article develops a framework for Norway's human rights obligations based on recognition of the right to equal ecological space for the fulfillment of all human rights (and consequent “ecological debt”) and the insights of institutional human rights theories, before outlining a human rights-based approach, based on human rights-based approaches to development (HRBAs) and illustrated through the right to work, that fulfils these duties. After analysing Norwegian climate discourses in light of this framework, the article tentatively outlines how this approach can provide a basis for action for social movements in Norway.