06 November 2017 #Dispute Resolution
Very soon a Norwegian court will hear a case based on environmental concerns against the issue of oil exploration licences. The case is helpfully reported in The Economist (Nov 4-10th).
It turns on the alleged conflict with obligations under the Paris Agreement to reduce emissions. As the COP23 Climate Conference takes place in Germany it is interesting to see its work reaching into courtrooms across the world as well as in the political dimension.
More court cases are happening internationally as legal remedies addressing climate change are pursued by campaigners.
On occasion in the past such claims have succeeded. They serve to hold nations accountable to meet their duties to their citizens. People have by the constitution or other laws of many countries the right to a healthy environment.
This is at least one way to challenge the ongoing exploration for oil that is still regularly boosted by the linkage of political power and vested fossil fuel interests.
Even in the US there may be legal remedies achieved in more sympathetic state jurisdictions.
This pattern of litigation reflects the wider development of philanthropic litigation using legal means to tackle violations of human rights and to promote corporate accountability. In a world where political developments often lead to despondency about the future, it is a sign of enduring civilisation that the rule of law may yet again, as often in the past, protect citizens against the errant behaviours of their own government.