International Environmental Law

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An international crime of “ecocide”: what’s the story?

Global momentum is growing for a collective meaningful effort to be made to tackle the increasing urgency of the climate emergency. In corporate boardrooms, shifting business priorities can be seen in recent shareholder action at ExxonMobil, Chevron and Total. International organisations are weighing in, with expert publications such as the International Energy Agency’s ‘Net Zero by 2050‘ report serving as a reminder that the clock is ticking towards the targets set by the Paris Agreement and the IPCC’s ‘Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5° C‘. In courts across the world, the ripples caused by early climate-related cases such as Urgenda and Friends of the Irish Environment have turned into a tidal wave of climate litigation with 53 cases filed already in 2021, including most recently a constitutional claim against Guyana reported on 1 June 2021 and a lawsuit against the Italian government reported on 5 June 2021.

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Sustainable Development made justiciable: The German Constitutional Court’s climate ruling on intra- and inter-generational equity

In a decision published on 29 April 2021, the German Federal Constitutional Court joined other Courts around the world in their criticism of governments for failing to take efficient measures against climate change. The Court ruled that Germany’s Climate Protection Act of December 2019 is not sufficient to meet Germany’s obligations. The principle of sustainable development lies at…

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“The check, please!” – Incentivizing states to pay for climate change?

Thinking aloud When it comes to climate change, there is a disparity between causers of effects and the ones having to endure them. Virtually all states and many large businesses contribute to climate change, whereas the resulting damage does not affect everybody equally and at the same time. The international law on state responsibility in situations…

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Does Fukushima wastewater decision violate our environmental rights?

Japan’s recent decision to release more than one million tons of treated wastewater collected at the wrecked Fukushima Daiichi nuclear powerplant has aroused intense controversy both locally and internationally. Opposition and condemnations are expressed not only by local fishermen and fishing industries, but also strongly by its neighbouring countries, especially China and South Korea. A key…

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Extraterritoriality of Oil Constitutionalism in People v Arctic Oil

On 22 December 2020, the Supreme Court of Norway delivered its judgement in People v Arctic Oil on the interpretation of Article 112 of the Norwegian Constitution on the right to a clean and healthy environment. This case has been in the spotlight as it dwells on conflicts between climate goals and energy policy, and whether oil…

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