Developing countries and countries with economies in transition have varying experiences in enforcing their national environmental law. China's judicial interpretations and legislation on environmental protection have established the rules that shift the burden of proof for causation in environmental tort litigation. However, this study of 513 court decisions from the people's courts at different levels in China shows that although the court decisions usually refer to or quote the rules that shift the burden of proof, in most cases the victim-plaintiffs still bear the liability to prove whether the causal relationship exists between the pollution and the harm. This study also finds that Chinese courts defer greatly to the evaluation report in proving causation. It suggests that the court practice of adjudicating environmental tort cases in China values more the factual causation of a pollution incident than the provisions regarding proof of causation stipulated by relevant laws. Consequently, such judicial practices hinder the effectiveness of judicial remedies for pollution victims in China.
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Fan Yang, Ting Zhang and Hao Zhang
Edited by Ed Couzens, Tim Stephens, Manuel Solis, Saiful Karim and Cameron Holley
Colonialism has challenged Aboriginal obligations and relationships to the natural world. This article describes the efforts of First Nations on the continent now known as Australia to maintain their authority and existences in the face of neoliberalism and colonialism, which the British initially inflicted and under which we still survive. The colonial policies of Australia denied our existence and at the same time attempted to demolish our languages and cultures, and to assimilate the consequences. This article asks the questions: what underpins state claims to the title to Aboriginal lands? Does Australia renounce terra nullius and the racist principles and beliefs which make up such a doctrine? And finally does Australia acknowledge and support all ‘Peoples’ as having an inherent right to self-determination, and as a component of such a right, that all ‘Peoples’ have a right to collectively care for their country and to benefit from a relationship to the land which sustains future generations of all Peoples? The possibility of a future for all life forms on earth lies in the responses states might deliver to these questions.
Edited by Evadne Grant
Cordelia Christiane Bähr, Ursula Brunner, Kristin Casper and Sandra H Lustig
As older women are particularly vulnerable to climate change impacts, a group of senior women in Switzerland founded the association KlimaSeniorinnen Schweiz (Senior Women for Climate Protection Switzerland) in order to fight for ambitious climate action by legally challenging the Swiss government's inadequate climate policies and mitigation measures. The KlimaSeniorinnen filed a legal request with the authorities, claiming that the Swiss authorities are failing to fulfil their duty to protect them as required by the Swiss Constitution and by the European Convention on Human Rights. This article provides a detailed analysis of the KlimaSeniorinnen case within the context of climate litigation worldwide. It argues that the case's human rights arguments, which are grounded in climate science, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the Paris Agreement, environmental principles and international law, are generally transferable to almost any country. Therefore, vulnerable individuals and groups can learn from the KlimaSeniorinnen litigation that there are strong legal grounds to bring human-rights-based climate lawsuits against governments and thus governments should expect more litigation if their climate actions or omissions contravene international law and violate constitutional principles.
The aim of this article is better to understand the relationship Japanese people have with birdlife, wetlands and environmental law. The article uses a case study of the Japanese ‘red-crowned’ crane (the tancho) and Ramsar sites in Eastern Hokkaido to examine Japan's environmental governance systems and actors and the extent to which they utilize the principle of public participation. The topic is significant because of the urgency with which wetlands and birdlife are being lost in East Asia and the impacts such loss will have on communities and national identity. The observations in this article have relevance for neighbouring Asian countries like China and Korea, both of which have their own cultural perceptions and legal protections to consider.
Edited by Ed Couzens, Tim Stephens and Saiful Karim
Edited by Sam Adelman
The Paris Agreement is the first climate treaty to include a reference to traditional knowledge, opening up a new legal frontier to address this complex subject in international law. Traditional knowledge has already been the subject of considerable regulatory developments in international environmental and human rights instruments. This article reflects on how these bodies of law treat traditional knowledge, with the objective of understanding what are the gaps that could and should be addressed in the context of the climate regime. The article is divided into four parts. The introduction outlines the article's structure and methodology. Section 2 provides a definition of traditional knowledge and identifies the international law questions it raises. Section 3 analyses existing international obligations on traditional knowledge in environmental and human rights law. Section 4 considers the interplay between the climate regime and the bodies of international law analysed in Section 3. The conclusion offers some recommendations on the treatment of traditional knowledge in the climate regime.
Kirsten Davies, Sam Adelman, Anna Grear, Catherine Iorns Magallanes, Tom Kerns and S Ravi Rajan
The Declaration on Human Rights and Climate Change responds to the profound crisis of human hierarchies now characterizing the climate crisis. The Declaration, initiated prior to the 2015 COP 21 meeting by scholars from the Global Network for the Study of Human Rights and the Environment (GNHRE), is one of a convergence of initiatives reflecting the need to understand human rights as intrinsically threatened by climate change. This article introduces the Declaration, the necessity for it, its philosophical and legal background and its support by contemporary cases providing evidence of the escalating legal need for such a tool. A key aim of the Declaration is to trace out a potential normative approach for establishing responsibility towards the planet and redressing unevenly distributed vulnerabilities and climate injustices while recognizing that it is vital that respect for human rights should be understood as an indispensable element of any adequate approach to climate change. The Declaration strives to offer a compelling level of ethical appeal, as well as to be legally literate and philosophically rigorous. The drafting process engaged scholars and communities from across the world, prioritized indigenous involvement, and drew on indigenous ontologies and epistemologies. Newer philosophical approaches such as new materialist understandings of lively materiality also informed the drafting process. Accordingly, the language of the Declaration creates space for non-Western ways of seeing and being as well as responding to insights emerging from new scientific understandings of the world.