Litigating Climate Change under UNCLOS

Litigating Climate Change under UNCLOS

This is a past event

This seminar will discuss the role that litigation under Part XII of UNCLOS could play in enforcing states’ obligations to protect and preserve the marine environment from the effects of climate change. Inter-state litigation is a weapon employed by weaker states with limited diplomatic leverage over their bigger, more powerful opponents. From that perspective it is potentially an attractive tool that could be used by small island or sinking states against major greenhouse gas emitters that are not delivering on the commitments they made in the 2015 Paris Agreement. UNCLOS was negotiated at a time when climate change was not yet part of the international agenda; however, it must be interpreted and applied with subsequent developments in international law and policy in mind, including the Paris Agreement. The harmful, toxic, and persistent effects of climate change more than satisfy the test for marine pollution established by Article 1 of UNCLOS. Part XII applies to climate change insofar as it has or is likely to have deleterious effects on the marine environment. We will explore the implications of the Paris Agreement for the law of the sea, and what problems may arise for any state bold enough to resort to UNCLOS litigation.

Professor Alan Boyle (University of Edinburgh)
Hosted by
The School of Law
Taylor C11

There is no booking required, all are welcome.

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