Thursday, September 22, 2011

Pacific state Palau seeking an Advisory Opinion from the International Court of Justice

President Johnson Toribiong
of Palau on a coast in Palau
(Image by 
The Pacific Island State of Palau recently announced it will request an Advisory Opinion from the International Court of Justice (ICJ), also known as the World Court. Palau would like to know whether countries are legally obliged to mitigate their emissions causing climate change damage elsewhere.

This could prove to be a precedent setter, because this may be world’s first international climate change case if it is taken to court.

Palau's President Johnson Toribiong is asking the ICJ if the “no harm rule” is applicable in the case that their island is sinking due to climate change. The no harm rule is a customary international law that states that state governments have an obligation to prevent harm to other countries, or control the risk there of. In this case environmental harm, namely that the governments of other industrialized countries are allowing corporations to release emissions into the atmosphere (or failing to control such emission). These emissions are contributing to climate change and global warming, melting the ice caps, raising the sea-level, and thus shrinking the livable space on the island, and thus causing harm to the citizens of the island of Palau.

More on this topic can be found here: http://theconversation.edu.au/see-you-in-court-the-rising-tide-of-international-climate-litigation-3542

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