Broadening the Scope: The Urgenda Case, the Oslo Principles and the Role of National Courts in Advancing Environmental Protection Concerning Climate Change
Spanish Yearbook of International Law, 20 (2016), DOI: 10.17103/sybil.20.06
22 Pages Posted: 16 Feb 2017 Last revised: 18 Sep 2017
Date Written: October 22, 2016
In the light of the insufficient and inadequate action by public authorities on environmental matters, courts have started playing a fundamental role in the protection of nature and the human rights thereto related. Concerning climate change, national litigation is undoubtedly becoming a crucial element of the fight against global warming and its predictable catastrophic consequences. Domestic courts, through the identification and operation of different legal tools and principles, both national and international, might be providing an enhanced level of protection of fundamental rights, like the right to life, to health or even to property, currently threatened by the disruptive consequences of climate change. Simultaneously, several academic initiatives are elaborating concurring proposals based on very similar legal grounds, thus reinforcing the courts’ standpoint. However, the potential heterogeneity of judicial decisions, even more among different national jurisdictions, should be considered a sufficient reason to keep on pushing for sufficiently clear and ambitious international norms concerning climate change.
Keywords: Climate change, litigation, human rights, tort law, precautionary principle
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