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The ITLOS Advisory Opinion on Climate Change and the Law of the Sea – What follows from the Qualification of GHG Emissions as Marine Pollution?

Völkerrechtliche Tagesthemen: Spotlight (Episode 53)


The ITLOS Advisory Opinion on Climate Change and the Law of the Sea from 21 May 2024 is a landmark decision. Not only does the ITLOS define GHG emissions from sources on land, by vessels and through the atmosphere as pollution of the marine environment but it goes on to establish strict due diligence obligations based upon scientific findings. Although the Advisory Opinion is not legally binding its symbolic and potential legal effect shall not be underestimated. The interpretation of a high number of norms of Part XII UNCLOS in the light of due diligence obligations to protect the ocean from GHG emissions and their effects will have lasting effect and may set the scene for further judicial dispute settlement.


Nele Matz-Lück

Nele Matz-Lück is a professor at the Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel and co-director of the Walther Schücking Institute for International Law.

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