International Courts and Climate Change: ‘Progression’, ‘Regression’ and ‘Administration’

REVELLING IN THE WILDS OF CLIMATE CHANGE LAW, Rosemary Lyster, ed., Australian Academic Press: Brisbane, Forthcoming

Sydney Law School Research Paper No. 09-115

19 Pages Posted: 15 Oct 2009

See all articles by Tim Stephens

Tim Stephens

The University of Sydney Law School

Date Written: October, 12 2009

Abstract

This chapter assesses the extent to which international litigation holds promise as a means of addressing climate change. Proceedings may be initiated within a multiplicity of courts, tribunals and quasi-judicial bodies that operate on the international plane. We can identify three main types of international proceedings. First, there is what might be termed 'progressive' proceedings - those designed to bring positive outcomes in terms of mitigating, or adapting to, climate change, or compensating its effects. As in domestic settings, the chief value of such litigation is educative rather than in changing government behaviour. A second category of international climate litigation is what can be called ‘regressive’ proceedings, which may be invoked to prevent states, or groups of states, from adopting national or international climate policies that could interfere with other norms such as those relating to trade liberalisation. Most likely to assume prominence is a third type of proceedings, which can be called ‘administrative’ litigation, within and outside of the climate change regime established by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Kyoto Protocol, and any successor, which may be utilised to ensure that obligations under the regime are met. Although important, the ultimate value of administrative litigation is contingent upon the stringency of emissions limitation or reduction commitments established under the international climate change regime.

Keywords: International law of climate change, environmental dispute settlement, Kyoto Protocol, compliance procedure

JEL Classification: K10, K30, K32, K33

Suggested Citation

Stephens, Tim, International Courts and Climate Change: ‘Progression’, ‘Regression’ and ‘Administration’ (October, 12 2009). REVELLING IN THE WILDS OF CLIMATE CHANGE LAW, Rosemary Lyster, ed., Australian Academic Press: Brisbane, Forthcoming; Sydney Law School Research Paper No. 09-115. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1487866

Tim Stephens (Contact Author)

The University of Sydney Law School ( email )

New Law Building, F10
The University of Sydney
Sydney, NSW 2006
Australia

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