This Chapter is forthcoming in the second edited volume of the SHARES book series: André Nollkaemper and Dov Jacobs (eds.), Distribution of Responsibilities in International Law (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015).
17 January 2014
A leaked draft report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) states that the reluctance of states to take measures to battle climate change has made that the situation has grown critical, and the risk of severe economic disruption is rising. It also finds that another 15 years of failure to limit carbon emissions could make the problem virtually impossible to solve with current technologies.
The report finds that if states permit continued high emissions growth until 2030, the agreed target that the warming of the planet should be limited to 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit above preindustrial levels will most likely be impossible to meet. Future generations then would have to develop ways to pull greenhouse gases out of the air. But it is not clear whether such technologies will ever exist at the necessary scale, and even if they do, the approach would probably be wildly expensive compared with taking steps now to slow emissions.
22 November 2013
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in his address to the high-level segment of the United Nations Conference on Climate Change taking place in Warsaw, Poland, that ‘climate change threatens current and future generations’. He also said that ‘all of us in this room share a momentous responsibility (…) We must rise to these challenges with wisdom, urgency and resolve to address climate change’. He expressed deep concern that the scale of efforts being undertaken by the international community are still insufficient to limit global temperature rise to below 2 degrees Celsius from pre-industrial levels.
Source: United Nations | Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon | Latest Statements | Warsaw, 19 November 2013 - Secretary-General's remarks to the Climate Change Conference (UNFCCC COP19/CMP9) High-level Segment
17 October 2013
On 27 September 2013, Dutch NGO Urgenda announced it will institute legal proceedings against the Dutch state in order to address its allegedly failing climate change policy. This announcement was made on the same day that Working Group I of the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published its fifth report on climate change, concluding amongst others that scientists are 95 per cent certain that humans are the ‘dominant cause’ of global warming since the 1950s. Urgenda has published the draft court summons on its website (Dutch only), which may still be subject to revision. The final court summons will be presented to the Dutch state on 23 October 2013. Claimants will ask the Court: (more…)
30 September 2013
Dutch foundation Urgenda is planning to sue the Dutch state for its failing climate change policy. The court summons (Dutch only) will be presented to the state on 23 October. The plaintiffs claim there rests an obligation upon the Netherlands to reduce its CO2-emissions with 25-40 percent by 2020 compared to emission levels in 1990, in order to prevent damage to the global environment and violations of international human rights law. Various reports suggest that a 25-40 percent reduction is required of all industrialised states in order to have a real chance at limiting the global temperature rise to 2 degrees Celsius.
Urgenda will ask of the Dutch courts to declare that the Netherlands is acting wrongfully by failing to take the necessary measures to achieve a reduction percentage of 25-40 percent, and to order the Netherlands to (i) take the necessary measures to achieve this reduction percentage and (ii) inform Dutch citizens about the risks of climate change.