What are the States’ responsibilities with regard to preventing environmental transboundary harm? An assessment of recent decisions taken by the Norwegian authorities to permit petroleum activities in new areas of the Barents Sea
The history of Norwegian petroleum constitutes an important part of the construction of the welfare state. However, scientific evidence implies that our wealth has grown at the expense of the environment. The world's ecosystems are breaking down under the pressure of global warming and biological diversity suffers across the globe. The operations required to search for oil and gas, to access it, bring it to shore, transport it and burn it demands a huge intervention in nature. Enormous installations are placed in the natural habitat of underwater species and organisms. Oil spills lead to irreversible damage on plants and animals, and on habitats vital for their survival. The Norwegian authorities keep going further in challenging vulnerable marine ecosystems in their search for oil and natural gas. Despite the scientific knowledge of the vulnerability and the value of the biodiversity contained in the Arctic and despite the warnings from environmental institutions, the Norwegian authorities have decided to permit drilling for oil in new areas of the Barents Sea. This thesis aspires to study the relationship between the right of a State to permit harmful activities within its own territory, and the international commitment to prevent transboundary environmental harm in light of the decision made by the Norwegian authorities to permit petroleum activities in the Barents Sea.