3 May 2023
Climate Change Litigation
On Wednesday, May 3rd we had the privilege of hosting Professor Monica Feria-Tinta from Twenty Essex, who delivered a thought-provoking lecture at the Rio School on Global Governance, Democracy and Human Rights. The activity was organised by the FGV Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence on EU-South America Global Governance and co-funded by the European Commission under the Erasmus+ Programme.
Professor Feria-Tinta's lecture was particularly insightful as she delved into the topic of Climate Change Litigation, sharing her expertise not only as a practitioner but also as an academic. She highlighted the landmark nature of the Paris Agreement in establishing binding international obligations in climate matters, but also drew attention to the lack of mechanisms for enforcement or dispute resolution regarding climate violations.
In this context, Professor Feria-Tinta described how legal actors are filling this gap and interpreting the Paris Agreement's relationship with other climate instruments.
Throughout the lecture, Professor Feria-Tinta shared several examples of climate litigation cases, including Canada v. USA in 1941, which established the principle of polluter pays for transnational environmental damages, and the more recent case of Luciano Lliuya v. RWE AG in 2015, which sought reparations from a German company for its contribution to greenhouse gas emissions.
Professor Feria-Tinta discussed the 2018 ruling by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, which recognized the right to a healthy environment as a fundamental human right. She also discussed the 2022 Torres Strait Islanders Case, which considered the failure to protect a population from the impacts of climate change as a violation of civil and political rights.
Overall, Professor Feria-Tinta's lecture was a deep dive into the emergence of climate litigation and how legal principles are evolving to address the complex and interconnected issues surrounding climate change.