International climate politics

The question of the role of law in the international climate debate has evolved significantly thanks to the adoption of the Paris Agreement and the progress in climate science. As part of the international climate negotiations, countries have been formulating national mitigation plans (NDCS) and national adaptation plans (NAPs) since 2015.

"The UNFCCC and the Paris Agreement continues to be important. But now it's about implementation in individual states, in regions. And that's where courts can play a significant role in increasing pressure. Because international law alone is too vague, not directly enforceable, and leaves too many loopholes for states," says Dr. Roda Verheyen.

Climate lawsuits like the one filed by Saúl Luciano Lliuya against RWE play an important role accordingly. They make it clear that people are already suffering from climate risks, damages and losses. It is about justice and about those who caused climate change taking responsibility for the consequences (polluter pays principle).

This responsibility is reflected, among other things, in the obligation of industrialized countries to provide international climate finance for climate-related loss and damage. This is an important goal that is repeatedly discussed at the international UN climate negotiations (COP). Saúl Luciano Lliuya's lawsuit and his participation in severa climate summits have enriched this debate.


Saúl Luciano Lliuya en la COP 23 en Bonn, Alemania.


Dr. Noah Walker-Crawford