UN Wants the World Court to Address Nations’ Climate Obligations

"The rulings, while legally non-binding, could still carry significant moral and legal weight. A group of 18 climate-vulnerable nations are seeking an opinion from the “World Court,” with support from 117 other countries."

"On Wednesday, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution asking the International Court of Justice to issue an advisory opinion on the legal obligations of nations with respect to climate change.

The resolution—the culmination of a campaign led by the Pacific Island nation Vanuatu—asks the highest U.N. judicial authority to answer specific legal questions about governments’ obligations to protect the “climate system” for “present and future generations,” and what governments’ responsibilities are for “acts and omissions” that have caused harm to the climate, with an emphasis on harm to “particularly vulnerable” small island developing countries.

In some low-lying island countries like the Marshall Islands and the Maldives, sea level rise caused by climate change threatens to completely or partly subsume their territories. Climate change has also caused other harmful impacts, including more frequent and intense storms—earlier this month Vanuatu was hit by back-to-back Category 4 cyclones."

Katie Surma reports for Inside Climate News March 29, 2023.


"Can Nations Be Sued for Weak Climate Action? We’ll Soon Get an Answer." (New York Times)


Source: Inside Climate News, 03/30/2023