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National fair shares in GHG mitigation: impact for climate change litigation
Despite the scientific certainty on the devastating effects of climate change on human rights, countries’ nationally determined contributions (NDCs) still fall short of the 1.5oC goal of the Paris Agreement. The target brings a global carbon budget, ideally distributed equitably amongst States. Given the Paris Agreement’s “bottom-up approach,” States shall establish their share of emission reductions according to their domestic political and economic priorities. However, the ambition of the majority of countries remains highly insufficient.
Several climate litigation cases brought against governments seek to engage in a systemic change in the country’s mitigation commitments. The fair share question is at the core of any legal challenge to the adequacy of a State’s mitigation efforts. These claims bring into question an overarching question of what constitutes a State’s fair share of the global burden of mitigating climate change. This question is significantly based in available scientific studies. Yet fair share also ranges consistent with principles of international environmental law – including cooperation and equity – would offer a benchmark for NDCs to feed into the global stocktake (Rajamani et. al., 2022). In A Sud et al. v. Italy, the plaintiffs specifically presented a report on fair share prepared by Climate Analytics to corroborate their claims. While other cases have relied on the fair share notion previously, this was the first time that such corroborating evidence on fair share was presented to a court.

May 10, 2022 09:00 AM in Eastern Time (US and Canada)

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