Climate Change

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Risky business: Uniper’s potential investor-state dispute against the Dutch coal ban

In pursuit of the ambitious long-term goals of the Paris Agreement to limit global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius and preferably to 1.5 degrees from pre-industrial times, various European countries have decided to phase out coal. While such policies are necessary to tackle climate change – after all, coal is the dirtiest fossil fuel – they may give rise to legal claims from companies whose investments are adversely affected by the low-carbon energy transition. This scenario started to play out in recent months with the German utility Uniper publicly pondering bringing a claim – reported to amount to €850 million – against the Netherlands due to a new Dutch law banning the generation of coal-fired power after 2030. As a consequence of the law, which was enacted in December 2019, Uniper’s new power plant on the Maasvlakte (near Rotterdam) will have to close by 2030. The potential dispute raises a complex web of legal questions related to international investment and climate change law, EU law and corporate law.

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Public Interest Litigation Before Domestic Courts in The Netherlands on the Basis of International Law: Article 3:305a Dutch Civil Code

In recent years, the domestic courts in The Hague (Netherlands) have produced a series of judgments on matters of global concern, adjudicated on the basis of international law. All of these judgments have immediately been heralded as “a new classic” or “the most important court decision […] in the world…

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Climate Change in the Human Rights Committee

  The environment and climate change are amongst the most pressing issues for human rights. High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet has called it “the greatest threat to human rights” and fifteen children submitted a communication before the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) in September. Even though it seems…

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Climate Change as a Trigger of Non-Refoulement Obligations Under International Human Rights Law

  The recently published decision of the UN Human Rights Committee (HRC) pursuant to Individual Communication No. 2728/2016 (Teitiota v New Zealand) offers an insight into how the international legal system is coming to address climate change displacement. Teitiota is significant for its recognition that climate change impacts affecting migrants in their State of origin can trigger…

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A New Classic in Climate Change Litigation: The Dutch Supreme Court Decision in the Urgenda Case

    The judgment of the Dutch Supreme Court in State of the Netherlands v Urgenda is a landmark for future climate change litigation. On the 20th of December 2019, the Supreme Court held that on the basis of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) the Netherlands has a positive obligation to take measures…

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