Climate JusticeSymposium

Could “Net”-Zero Emissions prove to be a fatal blow for climate justice?

In 2015, after intense lobbying efforts and to the frustration of many climate justice activists, the Human Rights dimension of climate change was included not in the text, but only the preamble to the Paris Agreement. In the aftermath of the agreement, John Knox – at the time UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and the Environment – stated that „the Paris Agreement signifies the recognition by the international community …

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Climate JusticeSymposium

Securing pathways to environmental justice for indigenous women

Multilateral Development Banks and environmental violence in the Americas

Across the Americas, Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs), such as the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) or the World Bank (WB), finance public and private projects to support the development of the region. Although these projects often participate to the improvement of socio-economic conditions, they may also adversely impact the rights of local communities, cause severe damages to the environment, and fuel the climate crisis. In particular, Indigenous women have been disproportionately …

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Climate JusticeSymposium

Klimagerechtigkeit – ein Recht auf Heimat?

Das Thema Klimagerechtigkeit hat in den letzten Jahren viel Aufmerksamkeit erfahren. Die explizite Aufnahme von Klimagerechtigkeit in die Präambel des Pariser Übereinkommens von 2015 wurde sowohl von Aktivisten als auch Umweltrechtlern als Meilenstein gewertet. Dabei hat sich das Prinzip der Klimagerechtigkeit aus dem Konzept der Umweltgerechtigkeit (environmental justice) über die Jahrzehnte entwickelt. Ging es Umweltaktivisten der ersten Stunde noch um die gerechte geographische Verteilung von Nachteilen, die aus der Nutzung …

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Climate JusticeSymposium

Democratising international climate law

Reflections on a global citizens’ climate assembly

Government centred action has so far failed to respond adequately to the climate crisis, opening the space for new governance experiments, including through subnational coalitions, social movements and private standards. In the search for new ideas to facilitate the necessary transformations to move to a low-carbon economy, climate citizens’ assemblies – randomly selected representative citizens gathered to make recommendations on how to meet greenhouse gas emissions targets – have recently …

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Climate JusticeSymposium

The state is dead – long live the state! Statehood in an age of catastrophe

The geographical impact of climate change on statehood is rather clear. Ever since scientists have been warning about climate change and the rise in sea levels it would involve, several small island nations have been at the center of a discussion involving in situ adaptation, possible cross-border migration, and statehood. Indeed, the future of states such as Tuvalu, Kiribati or the Maldives poses a challenge to the traditional concept of …

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Climate JusticeSymposium

Judging climate change obligations: Can the World Court rise to the occasion?

Part II: What role for international adjudication?

In Part I of this post, we sought to identify the core rules of international environmental law that needed evolution and clarification for a claim relating to climate change to succeed. We now turn to how international adjudication might help to achieve genuine legal change. The 1992 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change has been at the centre of the UN’s various initiatives on the issue, and at the …

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Climate JusticeSymposium

Judging climate change obligations: Can the World Court rise to the occasion?

Part I: Primary obligations to combat climate change

The SARS-CoV-2 pandemic piles crisis atop crisis. As confirmed infection rates cross 2.5 million and attributed deaths pass 170,000 (at time of writing, in April 2020), it is increasingly being accepted that biodiversity loss has reduced the resilience of natural systems when faced with the emergence of new diseases. At the same time, ever closer contact between humans and animals (through intensive farming, habitat encroachment and other factors) has increased …

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Climate JusticeSymposium

Pursuing climate justice through public interest litigation: the Urgenda case

This blog post critically examines the contribution of public interest litigation to the global fight for climate justice. I consider the Urgenda case, which culminated in the Netherlands’ Supreme Court ruling of 20 December 2019, as an excellent example. Urgenda is a foundation, established under Dutch law, which claims to protect the public interest all of us have in a more sustainable society. It persuaded the Court to order the …

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Climate JusticeSymposium

Global South climate litigation versus climate justice: duty of international cooperation as a remedy?

Imagine for a moment that you are a Bolivian small farmer whose livelihood depends on the continuing flow of a river to water your crops. Now, due to climate change, glaciers that used to feed local rivers are retreating, leading to a substantial reduction in water availability. After a couple of years, you see in the local newspaper that a fellow citizen, a concerned industrial farmer, won a constitutional lawsuit …

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Climate JusticeSymposium

‘Staying with the trouble’

Sensing climate change in the Anthropocene

Among the issues raised in the call for contributions to the symposium on ‘Climate Justice – International Law in an Age of Catastrophe’, we find the question whether ‘international law as we know it [is] able at all to deliver solutions to the climate crisis, or [whether] is it part of the problem’. ‘In other words’, the call for contributions proceeds, ‘the question is whether the current crisis can be …

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