Unfortunately, some governments and influential social actors have not yet recognized their responsibilities and played their roles. Sometimes even they have exacerbated the crisis by ignoring the issue or preferring fleeting interests and a thirst for rapid economic growth.
Of course, some UN, NGOs, universities’ actions and initiatives and their results can not be ignored. Fortunately, a positive, new, effective transformation occurs, namely recent court decisions and rulings.
Because of their executive guarantee, judicial rulings, providing they are widespread and inclusive, if not merely symbolic, can significantly impact the environment and citizens’ right to healthy living, clean water, air, and the like.
Let’s get acquainted with two new examples of these courageous courts decision:
1- Jakarta has at least 10 million residents and three times that number live in its greater metropolitan area. It is regularly listed among the world’s most polluted cities. As well as being a major cause of the smog that hangs over the city, traffic congestion is estimated to cost the economy about $6.5bn a year.
An Indonesian court ruled Thursday (September 16, 2021) that President Joko Widodo and six other top officials have neglected citizens’ rights to clean air and ordered them to improve the poor air quality in the capital.
A three-judge panel at the Central Jakarta District Court notched a victory for a healthy living environment, siding with 32 residents who filed a lawsuit two years ago against Widodo and the ministers for environment, health, and home affairs, as well as the provincial governors of Jakarta, Banten, and West Java.
More information and details about this court decision is available here:
There has been good news from Indonesia, a land about 270 million people, the world’s fourth-most populous country and the most populous Muslim-majority country. Java, the world’s most populous island, is home to more than half of the country’s population.
With its tropical climate and archipelagic geography, Indonesia supports one of the world’s highest levels of biodiversity. The country is among the 17 megadiverse countries identified by Conservation International. Indonesia is second only to Australia in terms of total endemic species, with 36% of its 1,531 species of bird and 39% of its 515 species of mammal being endemic. Indonesia is one of Coral Triangle countries with the world’s most enormous diversity of coral reef fish, with more than 1,650 species in eastern Indonesia only.
Considering that Indonesia is the most populous Muslim-majority country, the stance of Indonesian religious leaders can have a significant impact on protecting or further endangering the environment. Fortunately, by issuing a historic fatwa, the country’s highest religious officials have played a constructive and inspiring role.
In January 2014, a holy voice rang out across Indonesia’s archipelago of lush, tropical forests and teeming mangroves. It came in the form of a fatwa, an Islamic edict, which instructed Muslims to stop the “illegal trafficking of wildlife.”
Believed to be the first fatwa broadly covering ecosystem conservation, it seeks to make people do what the law could not. As the head of the fatwa-issuing council said: “People can escape government regulation, but they cannot escape the word of God.” This notion is being recognized more and more by secular organizations such as the World Bank and the United Nations, which partner with religious-based environmental sustainability programs.
More information and details about this fatwa are available here.
2- On June 30, 2021, Dutch Court Orders Shell to Reduce Emissions in First Climate Change Ruling Against Company.
In 2019, a group of seven Dutch NGOs and more than 17,000 claimants filed a case against oil corporation Shell, seeking a declaration that its annual CO2 emissions were an unlawful act against the claimants. In May 2021, the Hague District Court agreed and delivered a groundbreaking decision ordering Shell to reduce its emissions by 45% by 2030 across all of its activities. This case is a landmark ruling in climate and human rights law: it is the first time that private companies are considered to have a duty to lower emissions and the first time a court has required a company to do so. This webinar will explore the key features, precedents, and lessons of this case for future litigation and climate action worldwide.
More information and details about this court decision are available here:
Center for Human Rights and Global Justice (CHRGJ), NYU Law School, will hold a virtual event titled: “Taking Big Oil to Court: Lessons of the Shell Case for Climate Litigation Against Corporations” to explore the key features, precedents, and lessons of this case for future litigation and climate action around the world.
- Sjoukje van Oosterhout, Policy officer Climate and Energy, Milieudefensie.
- Dr. L.E. Laura Burgers, Faculty of Law, University of Amsterdam.
- César Rodríguez-Garavito, Climate Litigation Accelerator & Center for Human Rights and Global Justice, NYU Law
Date & time:
September 29, 2021
9:00am – 9:45am US EST