New Horizons in Environmental and Energy Law series
Edited by Michael Faure and Marjan Peeters
Chapter 6: Potential Liability of European States Under the ECHR for Failure to Take Appropriate Measures with a View on Adaptation to Climate Change
6. Potential liability of European States under the ECHR for failure to take appropriate measures with a view to adaptation to climate change1 Armelle Gouritin 1. INTRODUCTION This chapter addresses, from a human rights perspective, the opportunities and possibilities for private persons to question the responsibility of States as far as climate change is concerned. More precisely, it will focus on the European Convention on Human Rights (hereinafter ‘the Convention’)2 as interpreted by the European Court on Human Rights (hereinafter ‘the Court’). In this respect we will focus on positive obligations binding the States. We will also limit this study to adaptation measures to climate change. In other words we will not cover the mitigation aspect. Linking environmental matters, and more particularly climate change with human rights has already been explored before domestic and international courts.3 This path is also currently explored at the UN level. On 28 March 2008, the Human Rights Council adopted its first resolution on ‘human rights and climate change’ (res. 7/23).4 Following this resolution the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights prepared and submitted an analytical study on the relationship between climate change and human rights (A/HRC/10/61) to the tenth session of the Council. On 25 March 2009, the Council adopted resolution 10/4 ‘Human rights and climate change’.5 In this Resolution the Council noted that ‘climate change-related impacts have a range of implications, both direct and indirect, for the effective enjoyment of human rights’ and recognized that the effects of climate...
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