Friday, November 14, 2014

Latin American law favorable to climate change victims according to Environmental Law Alliance Worldwide

Latin American law favorable to climate change victims
according to Environmental Law Alliance Worldwide
A study elaborated by a network of lawyers around the globe confirms our findings: Some Latin American civil law is particularly favorable to victims of climate change claiming compensation from CO2 polluters. The Environmental Law Alliance Worldwide study also confirms that India is a jurisdiction that might provide victims of climate change with compensation for their damage. It furthermore declares Kenya to be promising.

Contrary to Claimer.org, the study labeled “Holding Corporations Accountable for Damaging the Climate” recommends the law of Mexico. For the other Latin American jurisdictions examined by the study Claimer.org agrees: Brazil, Ecuador, and Colombia are indeed promising. Furthermore, Claimer.org had identified Peru and Venezuela as jurisdictions providing good chances to victims of climate change.

There are some differences in the design of the study when compared to the Claimer.org approach. E.g. the Environmental Law Alliance Worldwide focuses more on constitutional rights. For some of the jurisdictions investigated, it comes to a positive result based on constitutional law, whereas Claimer.org came to a positive result in a view of the civil law.

At the same time, Environmental Law Alliance Worldwide does not examine for each of the jurisdictions the question whether the jurisdictions apply the principle of joint and common liability of tortfeasors (it touches upon this aspect only with regard to the U.S. law which is not of much help). This aspect is of utmost importance for Claimer.org. As none of the CO2 polluters are responsible for a share higher than 2%, victims of climate change might find it hard to get noteworthy compensation in jurisdictions which do not apply the principle of joint and common liability.

The study assesses also the question which rich jurisdictions (as fora) might be ready to apply the law of the favorable foreign jurisdictions. Like Claimer.org, the Environmental Law Alliance Worldwide identifies the Netherlands as suitable forum, evidently with Royal Dutch Shell as the most suitable defendant.

To sum-up, the study presented by Environmental Law Alliance Worldwide provides, in particular by its focus on constitutional law, for some valuable additions to our own research and other studies referred to on Claimer.org. However, it is not recommended to base a strategy on this study alone.

Related: Study of Latin American Civil Law Starting with Brazil

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