Research Handbook on Global Climate Constitutionalism
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Research Handbook on Global Climate Constitutionalism

Edited by Jordi Jaria-Manzano and Susana Borrás

Climate change is causing traditional political and legal concepts to be revisited. The emergence of a global polity through physical, economic and social interaction demands global responses which should be founded upon new principles and which cannot simply be modelled on traditional constitutionalism centred on the nation-state. This Research Handbook explores how to build this climate constitutionalism at a global level, starting from the narrative of Anthropocene and its implications for law. It provides a critical approach to global environmental constitutionalism, analysing the problems of sustainability and global equity which are entwined with the causes and consequences of climate change. The Handbook explores how to develop constitutional discourses and strategies to address these issues, and thereby tackle the negative effects of climate change whilst also advancing a more sustainable, equitable and responsible global society.
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Chapter 14: Global climate constitutionalism and justice in the courts

James R. May and Erin Daly


This chapter explores developments at the boundary between environmental constitutionalism and climate justice. We see two trends. First, a growing group of countries now expressly address climate change in their constitutions. Second, courts from diverse parts of the world are recognizing that governmental inaction in the face of climate change can abridge the right to a healthy climate as implied by an express constitutional right to life, dignity or due process, or the right to a healthy environment. These trends are likely reflective of an emerging worldwide phase in constitutional litigation. Following the introduction, the chapter explores the social and economic consequences of the disproportionate effect of climate change, known as ‘climate justice’. It goes on to examine the extent to which countries have adopted express constitutional means to address governmental inaction about climate change. It then reports on how courts have engaged these and associated provisions. It concludes that climate constitutionalism has significant potential for shaping how the rule of law can contribute to climate justice, especially at the domestic level.

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