Climate Litigation

The past year brought about several precedent setting court decisions and a growing number of lawsuits seeking to tackle climate change. In May, the Supreme Court of Colombia ruled in favour of a group of 25 children and youth, holding that their constitutional right to a healthy environment was being violated by deforestation in the Amazon. In October, the Hague Court of Appeal upheld an earlier decision concluding that the Netherlands is violating the right to life by failing to take adequate measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

In October, I filed an expert statement in a lawsuit brought by the Friends of the Irish Environment, asserting that Ireland has violated its human rights obligations by failing to take adequate actions to address climate change. My statement focused on human rights obligations related to the right to life. The case is scheduled to be heard in January 2019.

These cases are vitally important in light of the IPCC’s recent report on limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees, as climate action needs to be rapidly scaled up to meet the challenge of reducing global emissions in half by 2030.

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