Gloucester Resources Limited v. Minister for Planning, Gloucester Resource Limited (GRL) proposed to establish an open cut coal mine near the town of Gloucester. Residents of Gloucester generally opposed the project, concerned about the mine’s amenity impacts, visual impacts, social impacts, and potential contribution to climate change. GRL unsuccessfully applied for approval and appealed to the Land and Environment Court of New South Wales, acting as a consent authority in this case. The court found the project should be refused, the direct and indirect impacts exceeding the benefits of the mine.
Urgenda Foundation v. State of the Netherlands: The Urgenda Climate Case against the Dutch Government was the first in the world in which citizens established that their government has a legal duty to prevent dangerous climate change. On 24 June 2015, the District Court of The Hague ruled the government must cut its greenhouse gas emissions by at least 25% by the end of 2020 (compared to 1990 levels). The ruling required the government to immediately take more effective action on climate change.
Neubauer et al. v. Germany: A group of German youth filed a legal challenge to Germany’s Federal Climate Protection Act, arguing that the law’s target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions 55% by 2030 from 1990 levels was insufficient and consequently violated their human rights as protected by Germany’s constitution. The applicants argued that the law’s 2030 target did not take into account either Germany or the EU’s obligation under the Paris Agreement to limit global temperature rise to the “well below 2 degrees Celsius” level. The applicants argued that Germany would need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 70% by 2030 (from 1990 levels) in order to meet its international obligations. They argued that the government’s failure to take adequate action on climate change violated multiple rights guaranteed to them by the Basic Law, Germany’s constitution, including the principle of human dignity, the right to life and physical integrity, and the natural foundations of life in responsibility for future generations. The applicants asked the Federal Constructional Court to declare the 55% reduction goal a violation of the Basic Law, require the legislature to issue new reduction quotas, and prohibit the transfer of emissions allocations under the new regulatory regime. The Federal Constitutional Court struck down the parts of the Federal Climate Protection Act as incompatible with fundamental rights for failing to require sufficient emission cuts beyond 2030.
United State of America
Massachusetts v. Environmental Protection Agency: In this U.S. Supreme Court case, twelve states and several cities of the United States, brought suit against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to force that federal agency to regulate carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases (GHGs) as pollutants.
This case focused on adaptation measures rather than mitigation measures, as Pakistan is not a major contributor to climate change but is particularly vulnerable to climate change impacts. A farmer brought the case against the government for its failure to enact adaptation measures to address vulnerabilities associated with climate change. Ashgar Leghari, a Pakistani farmer, sued the national government for its failure to properly implement the National Climate Change Policy of 2012 and the Framework for Implementation of Climate Change Policy (2014-2030). The court found that government’s delay in implementing the Framework violated the fundamental rights of Pakistan’s citizens. The court directed several government ministries to name a climate change point-person within their ministry to ensure implementation of the Framework and to present a list of action points by the end of the calendar year (2015). In its judgement, the court also created a Climate Change Commission composed of representatives from relevant ministries, civil society, and scientific experts to monitor the government’s progress.
SaveLamu et al. vs. National Environmental Management Authority and Amu Power Co., Ltd: The Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), the National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA) of Kenya issued an EIA License to Amu Power Company to proceed with a coal-fired power plant project in the County of Lamu. The organization Save Lamu, alongside several other community groups, challenged the issuance of the License on the grounds, inter alia, that the EIA failed to fully account for environmental harms, that the mitigation measures were inadequate, and that the EIA process did not involve adequate public participation. The tribunal set aside the EIA License, ordering Amu Power, should it still wish to pursue the project, to undertake a fresh EIA adhering to each step of existing EIA regulations, and directing NEMA to comply with these regulations to engage lead agencies and the public in the licensing process and to provide and publish reasons for its ultimate
Barrick Exploraciones Argentinas S.A. and others v. National Government: The Argentina Supreme court rejected the ruling of the federal judge in San Juan province, hence protecting the Argentina Glacier protection law. The law will now be applied across the country particularly to San Juan where the leading world’s gold producer , the Barrick Gold corp, has been struggling to bring its huge Pascua Lama mine on-stream. The Supreme Court verdict specified, that the National Glacier Law rightly and justly calls for a National Glacier Inventory to determine what areas should be protected by the law and where mining activity might be affecting glaciers and periglacial environments. The fear from the mining sector and from the provincial government which has been betting on mining for developing its economy is more than warranted.
ClientEarth v. Enea: The court held that , Companies and their directors are legally responsible for managing climate-related risks and face potential liability if they fail to do so. the District Court in Poznań has held that the company resolution authorizing construction of the power plant was legally invalid.