Thursday, March 30, 2023

Judicialising the climate struggle

The United Nations has asked the International Court of Justice for a ruling on climate change obligations:

The UN General Assembly has adopted a Vanuatu-led resolution calling for an advisory opinion from the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on climate change and human rights.

The resolution was tabled by Vanuatu and a core group of 17 countries, aiming to clarify what the obligations of states are in protecting the rights of current and future generations from the adverse effects of climate change.

The motion, sponsored by more than 130 countries, was greeted with cheers.

While an ICJ advisory opinion isn't binding, it will be influential, and likely to be accepted by countries who wish to appear to be good international citizens, and by courts who find international legal arguments convincing. The latter group includes Aotearoa, so this is a ruling that will make a difference here. And we have Vanuatu - and a bunch of USP law students - to thank for it.