Chapter 9: State responsibility for damages associated with climate change
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As climate change continues largely unmitigated, there is a high risk that damages associated with the impacts of climate change will only increase in number, magnitude and frequency. This chapter analyses the current international legal framework for addressing damages associated with climate change and to reflect on opportunities for international law to evolve to deal more effectively with climate damage claims than is the case under the current state of the law. This chapter first charts the existing rules and provisions in international treaty law to establish international responsibility for climate change related damages. No treaty provision seems to directly address state responsibility to avoid climate change damages as an obligation of result. However, treaty law, in particular the Paris Agreement, sets up the obligation of conduct to act with due diligence in setting the objectives in Parties' NDCs and to implement them. Parties are under the legal obligation to deploy their best efforts in taking all adequate, effective and necessary measures, commensurate to the risk at stake and their economic capacities. Taking inadequate or ineffective climate mitigation measures would amount to a breach of an international obligation. Second, the chapter analyses customary international law. It finds that a similar standard of care applies under the obligation not to cause significant transboundary harm. Also here, all states are required to act with due diligence and to apply their best means to avoid climate change related damages from impacting other states' territories as well as areas beyond national jurisdiction.

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