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Should Judges Make Climate Change Law?

  • Laura Burgers (a1)

Abstract

What scholars referred to as a climate change litigation ‘explosion’ in 2015 has today become an established movement which is unlikely to stop in the near future: worldwide, over a thousand lawsuits have been launched regarding responsibility for the dangers of climate change. Since the beginning of this trend in transnational climate litigation scholars have warned that the separation of powers is threatened where judges interfere with the politically hot issue of climate change. This article uses Jürgen Habermas's political theory on deliberative democracy to reconstruct the tension between law and politics generated by these lawsuits. This reconstruction affords a better understanding of the implications of climate change litigation: while the role of the judiciary as such remains unchanged, the trend is likely to influence the democratic legitimacy of judicial lawmaking on climate change, as it indicates an increasing realization that a sound environment is a constitutional value and is therefore a prerequisite for democracy.

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Copyright

This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Footnotes

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This contribution is part of a collection of articles growing out of the conference ‘Climate Change Litigation’, held at Aarhus University Department of Law, Aarhus (Denmark), 14–15 June 2018.

This article has benefited enormously from the valuable comments of colleagues at the Centre for the Study of European Contract Law in Amsterdam, including notably Chantal Mak, Marija Bartl, Mirthe Jiwa, Nik de Boer and Tawnee Hill, as well as the comments I received during a very helpful meeting of the PluriCourts group at the University of Oslo (Norway). I owe a special word of thanks to the convenors of this Symposium Collection, Katerina Mitkidis and Theodora Valkanou, for their careful and insightful remarks, as well as to the enthusiastic and stimulating suggestions of the two anonymous reviewers for TEL.

Footnotes

References

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1 Shell first raised this point in the media: P. Luttikhuis, ‘Milieudefensie begint zaak tegen Shell om milieuschade’, NRC Handelsblad, 4 Apr. 2018, available at: https://www.nrc.nl/nieuws/2018/04/04/zaak-tegen-shell-om-milieuschade-a1598077 (translation by the author). On 28 May 2018 Shell repeated this response in an official letter, saying, inter alia, that courts are not the right forum to advance the global energy transition, available at: https://milieudefensie.nl/actueel/reactie-shell.

2 Milieudefensie's letter holding Shell liable is available at: https://milieudefensie.nl/publicaties/brieven/brief-van-milieudefensie-aan-shell. Milieudefensie's summons was presented in the spring of 2019 and is available at: https://milieudefensie.nl/actueel/volledige-dagvaarding-shell.pdf.

4 Peel, J. & Osofsky, H.M., Climate Change Litigation (Cambridge University Press, 2015), p. xi.

5 Cf. the following databases: Climate Change Litigation Databases, available at: http://climatecasechart.com, and Climate Change Laws of the World, available at: http://www.lse.ac.uk/GranthamInstitute/climate-change-laws-of-the-world.

6 E.g., in the Netherlands the case of Urgenda Foundation v. State of the Netherlands, in which two judgments so far have been delivered: Court of First Instance, The Hague, 24 June 2015, Stichting Urgenda / Staat der Nederlanden, ECLI:NL:RBDHA:2015:7145 (Urgenda, The Hague Court of First Instance); Court of Appeal of The Hague, 9 Oct. 2018, Stichting Urgenda / Staat der Nederlanden, ECLI:NL:GHDHA:2018:2591 (Urgenda, The Hague Court of Appeal).

7 E.g., in Germany, the case of Lliuya v. RWE AG, Higher Regional Court of Hamm, 30 Nov. 2017.

8 E.g., the case against the municipality of Vienna on a new landing-strip at the airport of Vienna: Anti-Aircraft Noise Society and Others v. Vienna Airport AG, Austrian Constitutional Court, 29 June 2017.

9 E.g., the case of Klimaatzaak v. Kingdom of Belgium and Others, launched in 2015, no substantive judgments yet.

10 The late Polly Higgins called for making ecocide (genocide on the ecosystem) an international crime: see, inter alia, Higgins, Polly, Eradicating Ecocide (Shepheard-Walwyn (Publishers) Ltd, 2015). Environmental activists have pleaded the ‘climate necessity defence’ when tried for civil disobedience offences (see Section 3, n. 75 below).

11 See nn. 6–10 above.

12 E.g., the People's Climate Case against the EU: Case T-330/18, Armando Ferrão Carvalho and Others v. The European Parliament and the Council, 8 May 2018, ECLI:EU:T:2019:324 (People's Climate Case); see also Winter, G., ‘Armando Carvalho et al. v. European Union: Invoking Human Rights and the Paris Agreement for Better Climate Protection Legislation’ (2020) 9(1) Transnational Environmental Law (forthcoming).

13 E.g., the complaint launched by 16 young people, including Greta Thunberg, before the United Nations (UN) Committee on the Rights of the Child, 23 Sept. 2019, available at: https://earthjustice.org/sites/default/files/files/CRC-communication-Sacchi-et-al-v.-Argentinaet-al.pdf.

14 E.g., Lliuya v. RWE, n. 7 above.

15 E.g., the Dutch Urgenda case (n. 6 above) and the claim of Milieudefensie against Shell (n. 2 above).

16 C. Vallejo, ‘Suing the State for Climate Change; Empirical Assessment of Climate Change Jurisprudence in Cases against Governments’, PhD thesis, Los Andes University, Bogota (Colombia), 2018 (forthcoming).

17 Colombo, E., ‘The Quest for Cosmopolitan Justice in Climate Matters’ (2017) 2 Nordisk Miljörättslig Tidskrift, pp. 2539.

18 Loth, M. & van Gestel, R., ‘Urgenda: Roekeloze Rechtspraak of Rechtsvinding 3.0?’ (2015) 1849(37) Nederlands Juristenblad, pp. 2598–605, at 2598 (translation by the author).

19 Urgenda, The Hague Court of First Instance, n. 6 above. See van Zeben, J., ‘Establishing a Governmental Duty of Care for Climate Change Mitigation: Will Urgenda Turn the Tide?’ (2015) 4(2) Transnational Environmental Law, pp. 339–57.

20 Urgenda, The Hague Court of Appeal, n .6 above. See Mayer, B., The State of the Netherlands v. Urgenda Foundation: Ruling of the Court of Appeal of The Hague (9 October 2018) (2019) 8(1) Transnational Environmental Law, pp. 167–92. For an overview of both cases see also Burgers, L. & Staal, T., ‘Climate Action as Positive Human Rights Obligation: The Appeals Judgment in Urgenda v. The Netherlands’, in Wessel, R.A., Wouter, W. & Boutin, B. (eds), Netherlands Yearbook of International Law 2018 (T.M.C. Asser Press, 2019 forthcoming).

21 Rome (Italy), 4 Nov. 1950, in force 3 Sept. 1953, available at: http://www.echr.coe.int/pages/home.aspx?p=basictext.

22 Foundation Urgenda v. State of the Netherlands, Opinion of Deputy Procurator General Langemeijer and Advocate General Wissink, 13 Sept. 2019, ECLI:NL:PHR:2019:887.

23 Peel, J. & Osofsky, H.M., ‘A Rights Turn in Climate Change Litigation?’ (2018) 7(1) Transnational Environmental Law, pp. 3767.

24 See n. 1 above.

25 Cf. Bergkamp, L., ‘Het Haagse Klimaatvonnis: Rechterlijke Onbevoegdheid En de Negatie van Het Causaliteitsvereiste’ (2015) 1676(33) Nederlands Juristenblad, pp. 2278–88; de Boer, N., ‘Trias Politica Niet Opofferen voor Ambitieuze Klimaatpolitiek’ (2016) 73(1) Socialisme en Democratie, pp. 40–8; Boogaard, G., ‘Urgenda en de Rol van de Rechter: Over de Ondraaglijke Leegheid van de Trias Politica’ (2016) 65(1) Ars Aequi, pp. 2633; de Graaf, K. & Jans, J., ‘The Urgenda Decision: Netherlands Liable for Role in Causing Dangerous Global Climate Change’ (2015) 27(3) Journal of Environmental Law, pp. 517–27; Peeters, M., ‘Europees klimaatrecht en nationale beleidsruimte’ (2014) 2014(41) Nederlands Juristenblad, pp. 2918–25; Schutgens, R., ‘Urgenda en de Trias’ (2015) 1675(90) Nederlands Juristenblad, pp. 2270–7; van der Veen, G. & Oztürk, P., ‘Onrechtmatige daad en gevaarzetting: reflexwerking en zorgplicht bij milieukwesties’ (2015) 51(4) Overheid en Aansprakelijkheid, pp. 157–60; W. Voermans, ‘Staat Moet Wél in Hoger Beroep Gaan’, Volkskrant, 28 Aug. 2015, available at: https://www.volkskrant.nl/columns-opinie/staat-moet-wel-in-hoger-beroep-gaan~bd2a74ec/?referer=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.google.com%2F; Van Zeben, n. 19 above; Mayer, n. 20 above.

26 In the United States (US), tort claims were rejected because of the political question doctrine; cf. Vallejo, C. & Gloppen, S., ‘Red-Green Lawfare? Climate Change Narratives in Courtrooms’, in Clair, L. St. & Gloppen, S. (eds), Climate Talk: Rights, Poverty and Justice (Juta Law, 2013), pp. 208–35.

27 Greenpeace Norway v. Norwegian State, Oslo District Court, 4 Jan. 2018, Case No. 16-166674TVI-OTIR/06, para. 5.2.7.

28 Cf., e.g., the reaction of Chevron to the lawsuit of municipalities in California: A. Mulkern, ‘Chevron Asks Judge to Toss Lawsuits, Unveils Strategy’, Energy and Environment News, 20 Mar. 2018, available at: https://www.eenews.net/greenwire/stories/1060076839.

29 T. Weatherhead, ‘Climate Change Lawsuits Are Ineffective Political Stunts’, The Hill, 1 Mar. 2018, available at: https://thehill.com/opinion/energy-environment/376307-climate-change-lawsuits-are-showy-ineffective-political-stunts.

30 New York, NY (US), 9 May 1992, in force 21 Mar. 1994, available at: https://unfccc.int/resource/docs/convkp/conveng.pdf.

31 Cf. M. Rescan & V. Malingre, ‘Gilets Jaunes: sous pression, Macron lance un appel à l'aide’, Le Monde, 6 Dec. 2018, available at: https://www.lemonde.fr/politique/article/2018/12/06/sous-pression-macron-lance-un-appel-a-l-aide_5393562_823448.html.

32 Paris (France), 12 Dec. 2015, in force 4 Nov. 2016, available at: http://unfccc.int/paris_agreement/items/9485.php.

33 Cf. Y.R. du Pont & M. Meinshausen, ‘Warming Assessment of the Bottom-up Paris Agreement Emissions Pledges’, Nature Communications, 16 Nov. 2018, p. 7, available at: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-018-07223-9.

34 Graver, H.P., Judges against Justice: On Judges When the Rule of Law Is under Attack / Hans Petter Graver. (Springer 2015) pp. 289, 292.

35 Boogaard, n. 25 above; Enneking, L. & de Jong, E., ‘Regulering van onzekere risico's via public interest litigation?’ (2014) 23 Nederlands Juristenblad, pp. 1542–51; Fisher, E., Scotford, E. & Barritt, E., ‘The Legally Disruptive Nature of Climate Change’ (2017) 80(2) The Modern Law Review, pp. 173201.

36 Habermas, J., Faktizität und Geltung: Beiträge zur Diskurstheorie des Rechts und des demokratischen Rechtsstaats (Suhrkamp, 1998).

37 In this article I cite from this translation: Habermas, J., Between Facts and Norms: Contributions to a Discourse Theory of Law and Democracy (Reig, Wiliam tr., John Wiley & Sons, 2015).

38 With ‘constitutional democracy’, I refer to the German term ‘Demokratische Rechtsstaat’: a democratic state guided by the rule of law.

39 Habermas, n. 37 above, p. 110. Zustimmung could also be translated as ‘approval’ or ‘endorsement’.

40 Ibid., p. 371.

41 Ibid., p. 380.

42 Ibid., p. 381.

43 Ibid., p. 171.

44 Ibid., p. 381.

45 Ibid., p. 104.

46 Ibid., p. 32.

47 We comply with a law either because we agree with it or because we fear the legal consequences of not complying. Law therefore frees us from the burden to reflect morally on all aspects of our behaviour: because of law we can, out of self-interest, act in the general interest – that is, in line with collectively designed laws: ibid., pp. 114–5.

48 Ibid., p. 89.

49 Ibid., p. 162.

50 Ibid., p. 198.

51 Ibid., p. 199.

52 HR 23 May 1921, NJ 1921/564.

53 Habermas, n. 37 above, pp. 122–3.

54 Ibid., p. 417.

55 Ibid., p. 104.

56 Ibid., p. 84.

57 Ibid., pp. 132–3.

58 Ibid., pp. 263–4.

60 Ibid., p. 263.

61 Ibid., p. 123.

62 Plessy v. Ferguson, 163 U.S. 537 (1896).

63 Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, 347 U.S. 483 (1954).

64 Habermas, n. 37 above, p. 261.

65 See Section 3 and Section 4 for detailed discussion of some of the other cases.

66 The Dutch Supreme Court read this doctrine in Art. 6:162 Dutch Civil Code in Lindenbaum v. Cohen, 31 Jan. 1919, ECLI:NL:HR:1919:AG1776.

67 Urgenda, The Hague Court of First Instance, n. 6 above.

68 N. 6 above.

69 N. 21 above. See Mayer, n. 20 above. For a short overview, see L. Burgers, ‘Historic Moment in European Private Law’, Judges in Utopia blog, 9 Oct. 2018, available at: https://judgesinutopia.eu/historical-moment-in-european-private-law-urgenda-decision-upheld-by-dutch-court-of-appeal-and-provided-with-stronger-legal-ammunition.

70 Urgenda, The Hague Court of First Instance, n. 6 above, paras. 4.94–4.102.

71 Urgenda, The Hague Court of Appeal, n. 6 above, para. 69.

72 Backes, C. & van der Veen, G., ‘Klimaatverdrag; Nederlandse Reductiedoelstelling Onvoldoende; Strijd Art. 2 En 8 EVRM. Staat Moet Uitstoot CO2 Eind 2020 Ten Minste Met 25% Reduceren Ten Opzichte van 1990 Om Te Voldoen Aan Zorgplicht Uit Art. 2 En 8 EVRM’ (2018) 417(43) AB Rechtspraak Bestuursrecht, pp. 2761–80; G. Boogaard, ‘Laten We de Democratie Niet Onder Curatele Stellen’, De Volkskrant, 11 Oct. 2018; L. Breebaart, ‘Hoogleraar: Urgenda Zadelt Regering op met Onmogelijke Last’, Trouw, 9 Oct. 2018; W. Hommes, ‘Het Hof Bedrijft Politiek Met de Urgenda-Uitspraak’, De Volkskrant, 16 Oct. 2018.

73 Besselink, L., ‘De Constitutioneel Meer Legitieme Manier van Toetsing, Urgenda Voor Het Gerechtshof Den Haag’ (2019) 93(41) Nederlands Juristenblad, pp. 3078–82; Bleeker, T., ‘Hof Den Haag: Nederlands Klimaatbeleid in Strijd Met Het EVRM’ (2018) 39(9/10) Nederlands Tijdschrift voor Burgerlijk Recht, pp. 289–94; Burgers & Staal, n. 20 above; L. Burgers, ‘Critici van Het Urgenda: Vonnis Zien de Privaatrechtelijke Dimensie over Het Hoofd’, De Volkskrant, 17 Oct. 2018; C. Eckes, ‘De Urgenda Uitspraak Doet Juíst Recht Aan Het EVRM’, 27 Oct. 2018, available at: http://euexplainer.nl/?p=520; Gilaerts, P. & Nuninga, T., ‘Privaatrecht en Preventie: Urgenda in Hoger Beroep’ (2019) 9(2) Aansprakelijkheid, Verzekering en Schade, pp. 41–9; F. Jensma, ‘Drie Hoeraatjes Voor de Rechter in Urgenda 2’, NRC Handelsblad, 13 Oct. 2018; Oztürk, T. & van der Veen, G., ‘Onrechtmatige Daad Bij Het Behalen van Klimaatdoelstellingen: Schending Zorgplicht Ex Artikelen 2 En 8 EVRM’ (2018) 51(4) Overheid en Aansprakelijkheid, pp. 157–60.

74 Urgenda, The Hague Court of First Instance, n. 6 above, para. 4.53.

75 For an extensive case overview see Climate Defense Project, available at: https://climatedefenseproject.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/CDP-Climate-Necessity-Defense-Case-Guide-May-22-2018.pdf.

76 Cf. K. Brownlee, ‘Civil Disobedience’, in E. Zalta (ed.), The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Fall 2017 edn, available at: https://plato.stanford.edu/archives/fall2017/entries/civil-disobedience.

77 Habermas, n. 37 above, p. 383.

78 Cf. D. Jorgic & S. Raza Hassan, ‘Pakistan City Readies Graves, Hospitals, in Case Heat Wave Hits Again’, Reuters, 20 May 2016, available at: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-pakistan-heatwave-idUSKCN0YB0TU.

79 Cf. C. Kormann, ‘Sometimes Fighting Climate Change Means Breaking the Law’, The New Yorker, 3 Apr. 2018, available at: https://www.newyorker.com/tech/annals-of-technology/sometimes-fighting-climate-change-means-breaking-the-law.

80 See Section 2 above for a full analysis of both judgments, and Burgers & Staal, n. 20 above.

81 Browder v. Gayle, 142 F. Supp. 707 (1956).

82 Cf. Climate Defense Project, n. 75 above.

83 Cf. W. Stephenson, ‘The Boston Climate Trial that Might Have Been’, CommonWealth Magazine, 28 Mar. 2018, available at: https://commonwealthmagazine.org/opinion/the-boston-climate-trial-that-might-have-been.

84 Massachusetts v. Gore (Boston Mun. Ct., MA., No. 1606CR000923, 27 Mar. 2018).

85 See Introduction above.

86 Verheyen is interviewed in J. Mommers, ‘Advocaten in Actie Tegen Klimaatverandering: Deze Golf Rechtszaken Verandert de Wereld’, De Correspondent, 16 Mar. 2018, available at: https://decorrespondent.nl/8048/advocaten-in-actie-tegen-klimaatverandering-deze-golf-rechtszaken-verandert-de-wereld/914457854992-a5320d7f. See also Lliuya v. RWE AG, District Court of Essen (Zivilkammer des Landsgerichts Essen), 15 Dec. 2016, and Lliuya v. RWE AG, Higher Regional Court of Hamm (Oberlandesgericht Hamm), 30 Nov. 2017.

87 ‘Action Brought on 23 May 2018: Carvalho and Others v. Parliament and Council (People's Climate Case), (Case T-330/18)’ [2018] OJ C 285/51. The General Court declared the case inadmissible in an order of 8 May 2019, but the claimants intend to appeal. Cf. People's Climate Case, ‘Court Acknowledges Climate Change is Affecting Everyone but Dismisses the Case’, Press Release, 22 May 2019, available at: https://peoplesclimatecase.caneurope.org/2019/05/peoples-climate-case-court-acknowledges-climate-change-is-affecting-everyone-but-dismisses-the-case.

88 Cf. R. Estrada Patiño, ‘Greenpeace Germany and Families File Lawsuit against Government over Inaction on Climate Change’, Greenpeace USA, 29 Oct. 2018, available at: https://www.greenpeace.org/usa/news/greenpeace-germany-and-families-file-lawsuit-against-government-over-inaction-on-climate-change.

89 N. 30 above.

90 N. 32 above.

91 Urgenda, n. 6 above.

92 Magnolia was launched on 15 Sept. 2016 by two youth organizations and 176 individuals in the District Court of Stockholm (Stockholms Tingsrätt), which rejected the claim on 30 June 2017. On 23 Jan. 2018, the Court of Appeal (Hovrätt) rejected the appeal. As a result of this decision and resource shortages, the plaintiffs have decided not to appeal to the Supreme Court.

93 The claim in the case of Natur of Ungdom and Greenpeace against the Norwegian State (The People v. Arctic Oil) was filed on 18 Oct. 2016. The claim was dismissed by the District Court of Oslo (Oslo Tingrett) on 4 Jan. 2018. The appeal will be heard in Nov. 2019 before the Court of Appeals (Borgarting) of Oslo as a direct appeal to the Supreme Court failed: Norwegian Supreme Court (Norges Nøyesterett), 12 Apr. 2018, Natur og Ungdom & Greenpeace v. Staten, Case No. 18-043328SIV-HRET (Arctic Oil).

95 Juliana et al. v. United States of America et al., No. 6:15-cv-01517-TC, 10 Nov. 2016, 217 F.Supp.3d 1224 (D. Or. 2016). All case documents are available at: http://climatecasechart.com/case/juliana-v-united-states/?cn-reloaded=1.

96 Friends of the Irish Environment v. Ireland, High Court, 19 Sept. 2019, No. 793 JR.

97 Leghari v. Pakistan, Lahore High Court, 14 Sept. 2015, W.P. No. 25501/2015.

98 E.g. in Urgenda, n. 6 above; Arctic Oil, n. 93 above; Magnolia, n. 92 above.

99 Urgenda, n. 6 above.

101 Arctic Oil, n. 93 above.

102 Anti-Aircraft Noise Society v. Vienna Airport AG, n. 8 above.

103 Magnolia, n. 92 above.

104 See Shell, n. 1 above. Summaries of RWE's statements in Lliuya v. RWE are available at: https://germanwatch.org/de/14198.

105 Peel & Osofsky, n. 23 above.

106 Leghari v. Pakistan, n. 97 above, para. 7.

107 Cf., inter alia, May, J. & Daly, E., Environmental Constitutionalism (Cambridge University Press, 2015); Kotzé, L., Global Environmental Constitutionalism in the Anthropocene (Hart, 2016) – also touched upon in Ganguly, G., Setzer, J. & Heyvaert, V., ‘If at First You Don't Succeed: Suing Corporations for Climate Change’ (2018) 38(4) Oxford Journal of Legal Studies, pp. 841–68.

108 Boyd, D., The Environmental Rights Revolution: A Global Study of Constitutions, Human Rights, and the Environment (UBC Press, 2012).

109 O'Gorman, R., ‘Environmental Constitutionalism: A Comparative Study’ (2017) 6(3) Transnational Environmental Law, pp. 435–62.

110 D. Boyd, n. 108 above, pp. 273, 275.

111 Legal-theoretical literature on the necessity to acknowledge the environment as fundamental to the state includes Kloepfer, M., Umweltstaat: Ladenburger Diskurs (Springer Verlag, 1989); Bosselmann, K., In Namen der Natur: Der Weg zum ökologischen Rechtsstaat (Scherz, 1992); Verschuuren, J., ‘The Constitutional Right to Environmental Protection’ (1994) 12(2) Current Legal Theory, pp. 2336. These sources are nicely summarized in Kotzé, n. 107 above, pp. 138–43.

112 E.g. ECtHR, 20 Mar. 2008, Budayeva v. Russia, App. Nos. 15339/02, 21166/02, 20058/02, 11673/02 and 15343/02.

113 E.g. ECtHR, 27 Jan. 2009, Tãtar v. Romania, App. No. 67021/01; ECtHR, 9 Dec. 1994, López Ostra v. Spain, App. No. 16798/90.

114 E.g., Inter-American Court of Human Rights, 15 Nov. 2017, Advisory Opinion requested by the Republic of Colombia, OC-23/17.

115 Knox, J.H. & Pejan, R., The Human Right to a Healthy Environment (Cambridge University Press, 2018).

117 Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women; Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights; Committee on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families; Committee on the Rights of the Child; Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities; ‘Joint Statement on “Human Rights and Climate Change”’, 16 Sept. 2019, available at: https://ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=24998&LangID=E.

118 Mommers, n. 86 above.

120 Expert Group on Global Climate Obligations, Oslo Principles on Global Climate Change / Expert Group on Global Climate Obligations (Eleven International, 2015).

121 Expert Group on Climate Obligations of Enterprises, Principles on Climate Obligations of Enterprises (Eleven International, 2017).

122 For an account of why some countries rather than others engage in environmental constitutionalism, see Gellers, J., The Global Emergence of Constitutional Environmental Rights (Routledge, 2017).

123 For an account of how climate claimants inspire each other transnationally, see Colombo, n. 17 above.

124 Inter-American Court of Human Rights, 15 Nov. 2017 Advisory Opinion requested by the Republic of Colombia, OC-23/17.

125 Juliana v. United States of America, n. 95 above.

126 In re United States of America, No. 17-71692, US Court of Appeals for the Ninth District, 7 Mar. 2018.

127 Cf. also C. Mak, ‘First or Second Best? Judicial Law-Making in European Private Law’, Centre for the Study of European Contract Law Working Paper Series No. 2016-12, Amsterdam Law School Research Paper No. 2016-48, 22 Sept. 2016, available at: https://www.ssrn.com/abstract=2847586.

128 IPCC, ‘Summary for Policymakers of IPCC Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C Approved by Governments’, 8 Oct. 2018, available at https://www.ipcc.ch/2018/10/08/summary-for-policymakers-of-ipcc-special-report-on-global-warming-of-1-5c-approved-by-governments.

129 A. Reilly, ‘Red-State AGs Vow to Fight Climate Lawsuits’, Greenwire, 27 Apr. 2018, available at: https://www.eenews.net/stories/1060080323.

130 Though the US government in the Juliana case (nn. 95 and 126 above) does not deny climate change as such.

131 Cf. D. Adler, ‘U.S. Climate Litigation in the Era of Trump: Year One’, Working Paper, Sabin Center for Climate Change Law, Columbia Law School, Feb. 2018.

132 Cf. report: America's Pledge, available at: https://www.americaspledgeonclimate.com/about.

This contribution is part of a collection of articles growing out of the conference ‘Climate Change Litigation’, held at Aarhus University Department of Law, Aarhus (Denmark), 14–15 June 2018.

This article has benefited enormously from the valuable comments of colleagues at the Centre for the Study of European Contract Law in Amsterdam, including notably Chantal Mak, Marija Bartl, Mirthe Jiwa, Nik de Boer and Tawnee Hill, as well as the comments I received during a very helpful meeting of the PluriCourts group at the University of Oslo (Norway). I owe a special word of thanks to the convenors of this Symposium Collection, Katerina Mitkidis and Theodora Valkanou, for their careful and insightful remarks, as well as to the enthusiastic and stimulating suggestions of the two anonymous reviewers for TEL.

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Should Judges Make Climate Change Law?

  • Laura Burgers (a1)

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