International Environmental Law

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The Australia-Tuvalu Falepili Union Treaty: Security in the face of climate change … and China?

On 9 November 2023, Australia and the Tuvalu signed the world’s first climate resettlement treaty. Tuvalu is a Pacific Island State of only 26 square kilometres in area, with over half its population living on the atoll of Funafuti. It has a mean elevation of less than 2 metres above sea level and is profoundly threatened by climate change. The Australia-Tuvalu Falepili Union Treaty provides for a ‘human mobility’ pathway ‘which shall enable citizens of Tuvalu to: (a) live, study and work in Australia; (b) access Australian education, health, and key income and family support on arrival’ (Article 3). Political reporting suggests that while all 11,200 citizens of Tuvalu would be eligible for resettlement, a quota of 280 a year will be allowed to migrate ‘to avoid a brain drain of skilled workers’. Nonetheless, half the landmass of Funafuti could be underwater at high tide by 2050. Also of potentially profound significance in terms of State practice, Article 2(b) acknowledges ‘the statehood and sovereignty of Tuvalu will continue, and the…

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Dial CPTPP for Climate Change-Related Civil Society Involvement in China: The Experimental Potential of the CPTPP’s Environmental Submissions and Referral Procedure

In September 2021, China formally applied to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). Signed and entered into force in 2018, the CPTPP is a recent addition to a line of free trade agreements (FTAs) that establish formal mechanisms for engaging civil society in environmental matters.

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Climate Change Hearings and the ECtHR Round II

On Wednesday the 26th of September, the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights held oral hearings in Duarte Agostinho and Others v. Portugal and 32 others, which is one of the three climate change cases currently pending before the Grand Chamber (seven other cases have been adjourned pending the Grand Chamber’s decision…

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To report or not to report GHG emissions in occupied territories. A practical approach for having a more accurate world count of global GHG emissions.

Climate change is a global environmental problem that needs the participation and cooperation of all States to effectively protect the Earth’s climate system for present and future generations. Despite the high number of States Parties that the UN climate change regime has, the regime is silent about who should report the green-house gases (GHG) emissions in occupied…

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General Comment No.26 on Children and the Environment – A Milestone in International Human Rights Law?

22 August 2023 saw the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child publish its much-anticipated General Comment No.26 on Children’s Rights and the Environment, with a Special Focus on Climate Change (GC26). The General Comment sets out a framework for a child rights-based approach to environmental protection, addressing issues ranging from access to justice and remedies…

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