Thursday, January 22, 2015

How Liable are UN Member States for Inaction on Climate Change?

Greenhouse gas emissions per capita in 2000 wi...
Greenhouse gas emissions per capita in 2000 without land-use change Data from the World Resources Institute's CAIT 4.0 database (registration required). Includes CO2, CH4, N20, PFCs, HFCs and SF6. Neither land-use change nor bunker-fuel emissions is included. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The Liability of European States for Climate Change (11 page pdf, R. H. J. Cox, Journal of Planning & Environment Law, Jun. 9. 2014) Also discussed here: Revolution Justified (328 pgs, Roger H.J.Cox, Amazon paperback, Nov. 14, 2012) 

 Today we review a scholarly article that examines the background behind a legal proceeding raised in November 2013 against the Netherlands for not taking action to avert dangerous climate change which was agreed on through international agreements to reduce GHG emissions by at least 25% from 1990 levels by 2020. The current Dutch reduction target is 16% by 2020. The suit makes use of the findings of the IPCC which are recognized by 195 member states which because of the worldwide process used to produce them carry “exceptional evidentiary weight in legal proceedings”.

Key Quotes: 

 “Can individual European states be held liable for their contributions to this global issue? Dutch attorney Roger Cox thinks they can and wrote the book Revolution Justified to explain why. His book provided the impetus for the first climate proceedings against a European member state: the Netherlands” 

 “the state is acting unlawfully with respect to them and their collective interests if it fails to achieve a 40 per cent or in any case 25 per cent (minimum) reduction in the level of greenhouse gas emissions in the Netherlands by the year 2020 relative to the level in 1990.” 

"The findings of the IPCC are recognised by the 195 countries (and the European Union) that signed the 1992 UN Climate Convention and have been adopted (also by the Netherlands) as the premise for their climate policies. As such, these findings carry exceptional evidentiary weight in legal proceedings, particularly as the IPCC’s reports are compiled through a worldwide process of hearing all arguments,” 

 “It is a known fact that the Netherlands is not striving (nor, indeed, is the European Union) to achieve a 25–40 per cent reduction by 2020 relative to 1990. Under current government policy, the reduction target for 2020 has been fixed at 16 per cent. This means the Netherlands will not be meeting the basic condition that it previously acknowledged as essential for achieving the climate target to avert dangerous climate change.” 

“According to the UN Human Rights Council (Resolution 10/4 of 2009), the danger attending climate change, and especially a climatic change of more than two degrees, poses a threat to human rights around the world, most notably to the right to life and the right to health.”

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