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WAC-WNC Speaker Series: Professor Mark Gibney – “Will a Group of Portuguese Children Shape the Future of Climate Change Litigation in the E.U.?”
September 6, 2022 @ 7:30 pm
Climate change is, arguably, the single greatest and gravest human rights issue facing the entire planet. Although greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) threaten human rights without respect for national borders, most laws, both domestic and international, are “territorial” in scope with a state’s obligations ending at its own territorial borders. To date, most climate change litigation has proceeded state by state with citizens bringing suits against their own governments. However, in the “Agostinho” case, a group of Portuguese children are claiming harm from GHG, not only in Portugal, but in all 33 states that belong to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in Strasbourg, France. UNCA Political Science Professor Mark Gibney and his colleagues from the Extraterritorial Obligations Consortium, a human rights organization, teamed up with lawyers from Amnesty International in London to file a groundbreaking petition on behalf of the children with the ECHR. The Court accepted the petition, permitting the case to proceed. The Court’s ruling on this historic case will have wide-ranging implications for future climate litigation in Europe.
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