Monday, May 11, 2015

Climate Change Liability

The EPA has been party to many a lawsuit on the topic of climate change.  In the Netherlands, concerned citizens have embraced a new approach -- not just asking for agency action, but rather charging the government with failure to protect Dutch citizens from climate change (see BBC coverage).

The organization bringing suit, the Urgenda Foundation, is posting legal documents from the suit, including the summons, translated into English.  As a result, environmental lawyers, scholars, and students have access to foreign legal proceedings on a topic of global concern.  The Urgenda Foundation relies on UN treaties, the European Convention on Human Rights, and Dutch law, concluding:

It is a grave failure of Dutch politicians that they have not put the issue of climate change front and centre of the political agenda or led and instigated a public debate about what needs to be done to safeguard our future and that of our children, while the seriousness and the nature of the problem are screaming for such a debate. It is the task of politicians to attempt to assess what the future holds, to inform the public of the problems and dangers of climate change that scientists have identified, to lead a public debate about the challenges that these dangers involve, to stimulate the factual basis of this discussion and to alert the public of evidently false information, all so that a truly democratic decision-making process can take place. In this, however, the Dutch State fails in every aspect.

If these issues interest you, consider registering for Professor Carlarne's fall seminar, Disaster Law, or our fall broadcast class with Professor Carlson, of the University of Iowa College of Law, International Environmental Law.