UNEP says climate litigation surges amid hope for greener future

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, July 28, 2023
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NAIROBI, July 27 (Xinhua) -- Legal action against governments or corporations that have dithered in responding to the climate crisis has doubled in the last five years, amid hope for justice and likely compensation for victims of uncontrolled global heating, the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) said in a report launched in Nairobi, the Kenyan capital, Thursday.

The Global Climate Litigation Report: 2023 Status Review, which was compiled by the UNEP in conjunction with the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia University in the United States, says that litigation is central to securing a greener and more resilient future for humanity.

It was launched ahead of the first anniversary of the UN General Assembly's declaration of access to a clean and healthy environment, a universal human right.

In its third edition, the report discloses that the number of climate change cases has surged from 884 in 2017 to 2,180 by the end of 2022, with 17 percent of cases being reported in developing countries bearing the brunt of climate disasters.

The U.S. leads in climate litigation globally, with 1,522 cases, says the report, adding that victims of climate emergencies in the Global South are in the near future expected to demand justice and compensation through the judicial system.

Inger Andersen, UNEP's executive director, said that as the world reels from climate-induced catastrophes like heatwaves, a blend of policy and legal interventions is imperative to boost the resilience of communities.

"People are increasingly turning to courts to combat the climate crisis, holding governments and the private sector accountable and making litigation a key mechanism for securing climate action and promoting climate justice," Andersen remarked.

The climate litigation report notes that aggrieved parties including women, children, youth, and indigenous communities have turned to the court in a bid to force governments and industry to hasten progress toward carbon neutrality.

According to the report, the diverse cast of litigants is leveraging global and local human rights conventions to demand climate justice and a halt to carbon-intensive economic development.

"Climate change litigation provides civil society, individuals, and others with one possible avenue to address inadequate responses by governments and the private sector to the climate crisis," the report says.

Andy Raine, the head of the international environmental law unit, UNEP's law division, said that robust litigation is likely to reinvigorate action on the climate crisis, amid a boost to the global green agenda. Enditem

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