International Environmental Law

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Breaking a Taboo: Fossil Fuels at COP26

For nearly 30 years, the international legal regime addressing climate change has kept largely silent about the major driver of the problem it seeks to address: fossil fuels. The Glasgow Climate Change Conference (COP26) that concluded last week has broken this taboo by including, for the first time, references to the phasing out of fossil fuel subsidies and the phasing down of coal power. How should these references be understood, and how significant are they? The “F-word” of the International Climate Regime The burning of fossil fuels – including coal, gas and oil – was responsible for 86% of carbon dioxide emissions in the past 10 years. One might expect that this basic fact would lead an intergovernmental process designed to tackle climate change to acknowledge this major driver, and to discuss ways of reducing fossil fuel production and use. One would be wrong.

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Expanding Human Rights Obligations to Facilitate Climate Justice? A Note on Shortcomings and Risks

COP26 in Glasgow has reinvigorated the already vibrant and urgent discussions about climate justice, what it means, and how to achieve it. One strategy that enjoys significant traction is the idea that expanding states’ human obligations will close the accountability gap in climate law or facilitate climate justice. Recent trends in climate change litigation, in particular, have witnessed…

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A Handy Illusion? Interpretation of the ‘Unlikely to Bring Effective Relief’ Limb of Article 7(e) OPIC by the CRC in Saachi et. al.

In an EJIL Talk! blog post, Aoife Nolan laid out the salient aspects of the five inadmissibility decisions in Saachi et al. v. Argentina, Brazil, France, Germany and Turkey delivered by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child on 8 October 2021. Her post focussed on how the Committee handled key…

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Children’s Rights and Climate Change at the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child: Pragmatism and Principle in Sacchi v Argentina

On 11 October 2021, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child published its decisions in complaints brought against five states – Argentina, Brazil, France, Germany and Turkey – by 16 child complainants under the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the rights of the Child on a Complaints Procedure (OPIC).

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The UN HRC recognizes the right to a healthy environment and appoints a new Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and Climate Change. What does it all mean?

On Friday 8 October, the UN Human Rights Council adopted Resolution 48/13, recognising for first time that having a clean, healthy and sustainable environment is a human right and calling on UN Member States to cooperate to implement this right. On the same day, the Council adopted Resolution 48/14, establishing a Special Rapporteur on…

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