Friday, June 16, 2017

States and Industries Face More Climate Court Action

Campaigners are increasingly using climate court action to press governments and corporations to fulfill their obligations to combat climate change.

Colombia’s paramos: Court action banned development and protected the right to clean water. (Image Credit: Grupe AME Corponor via Wikimedia Commons) Click to Enlarge.
Governments that make promises they do not keep to cut greenhouse gases or to protect their citizens against climate change are finding themselves more frequently facing climate court action by their own citizens.

According to a UN environment (the United Nations Environment Programme, UNEP) report, climate change cases have been filed in 24 countries – with the US, with 654 individual cases, facing by far the largest number.  Australia has seen 80 cases, the UK and the European Union Court of Justice 49 each.

In many cases it is the promises made by governments at the Paris climate conference in 2015 that are providing the legal arguments which campaigners are using in the courts.

These issues are complex and vary according to the legal system of the country involved.  But many boil down to whether the government in question is doing its share to hold the average global temperature rise down to below 2°C, or as close as possible to 1.5°C, the primary promise the politicians made in Paris.

Another type of case involves human rights, the right to clean air, health, and protection from threats like sea level rise.  Where governments have enacted legislation to protect the public but failed to implement it, citizens can sue them for their failures and ask the courts to order them to act.

Read more at States and Industries Face More Climate Court Action

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