The Networks of Human Rights and Climate Change
10 Pages Posted: 13 Nov 2020
Date Written: September 6, 2020
This paper probes the recent Urgenda decision by the Dutch Supreme Court from the perspective of the European Convention on Human Rights and the potential of the Convention to play a role in climate change litigation. The paper argues that much of the utility derived from relying on the ECHR in the context of climate change litigation comes from application of the Convention in the domestic legal setting. In finding against the Dutch government, the Supreme Court was thus able to furnish a series of expansive interpretations of the ECtHR's environmental rights case law. These interpretations are unlikely to carry much weight before the ECtHR itself. On this reading, the Urgenda decision drives home the potentially important relevance of pursuing climate change claims anchored in human rights claims in domestic legal settings and away from international tribunals, even if the impact of doing so remains contingent on local circumstances.
Keywords: human rights, climate change, adjudication, international law
JEL Classification: K32, K33
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation