Response or Comment
UNFCCC, Paris Agreement, Climate Change
This case digest focuses on the Canadian implications of Urgenda— particularly with respect to current attempts to use human rights arguments to require more ambitious and immediate efforts to reduce Canadian GHG emissions. Although the Canadian Arctic (and Indigenous communities residing there) are particularly vulnerable to the threats posed by global climate change, there has not yet been a court decision addressing Canada’s continuing failure to meet its successive GHG emissions targets. With pending climate litigation invoking a human rights approach, it is only a matter of time before Canadian courts will be faced with deciding, among other things, whether the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms requires governments in Canada to take more substantial and immediate action on climate change. In addition to raising issues like the scope of human rights obligations in the environmental context (including the scope of the right to life and equality rights), these claims will require Canadian courts to explore issues such as the separation of powers between the judicial, and the legislative and executive branches of government and whether the global nature of the threat of climate change allows individual countries like Canada—which are failing to do their part to reduce GHG emissions—to avoid being ordered to do more.
“The Netherlands v Urgenda Foundation: Lessons for Using International Human Rights Law in Canada to Address Climate Change”, Case Comment, (2020) 41 Windsor Rev Legal Soc Issues 145.
Windsor Rev Legal Soc Issues