Oslo — A group of activists is trying to put a stop to Norway’s Arctic oil exploration and forcing the country to defend itself in the first court case of its kind. Greenpeace and a Norwegian group, Nature and Youth, say Norway’s decision to award 10 Barents Sea exploration licences in 2016 to Statoil, Lundin Petroleum, Chevron and others, breaches the country’s constitution. Drilling in these areas, which include new acreage bordering Russian waters, is incompatible with Norway’s commitment to fight climate change under the 2015 Paris Agreement and poses a threat to the environment, the plaintiffs say. Norway’s government says the plaintiffs are misreading the law — or at least its intention. Representatives from the two sides meet in court in Oslo on Tuesday. The lawsuit is the first of its kind in Norway. But it marks part of a growing global trend of legal challenges brought against governments and companies for falling short on climate change. While experts doubt this particula...

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