The need of the hour is for the ICJ to clearly stipulate the human rights obligations under the UNFCCC to use human rights law and its related mechanisms to influence and improve international climate change policy as governed by the UNFCCC to make that policy fairer and more effective.
Abhinav Mehrotra, Assistant Professor, Jindal Global Law School, O.P. Jindal Global University, Sonipat, Haryana, India.
Biswanath Gupta, Associate Professor, Jindal Global Law School, O.P. Jindal Global University, Sonipat, Haryana, India.
On April 19, 2023, the General Assembly asked for an advisory opinion on the obligation of states to respect climate change. The Resolution (A/77/L.58) was adopted on March 29, 2023 at the 77th session of the General Assembly. The Resolution was also adopted without any objection by state parties in the assembly. This initiative was largely driven by the Government of Vanuatu. The questions put before the International Court of Justice by the General Assembly included the obligations of states under international law to ensure the protection of the climate system and other parts of the environment from anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases for states and for present and future generations.
At the same time, the responsibility of these states towards small island developing states, which due to their geographical circumstances and level of development, are injured or specially affected by or are particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change and the peoples and individuals of the present and future generations affected by the adverse effects of climate change.
All these questions are being assessed with reference to the Charter of the United Nations, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Paris Agreement, the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, the rights recognized in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights etc .
In this context, the UNGA recalls the importance of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Paris Agreement “as expressions of the determination to address decisively the threat posed by climate change.” The resolution also underscores the importance of implementing these treaties, particularly in light of the significant gap between states’ current nationally determined contributions and the emission reductions required to hold the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C, as well as the gap between current levels of adaptation and the levels needed to respond to the adverse effects of climate change.
Published in: The Geopolitics
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