19 - novembre - 2016
 

UN Climate Change Conference – COP22, Marrakesh, 7-18 November 2016

 

Urgent Appeal for the Ecological Truth

and the Sustainability of Life on Earth

On the occasion of the UN Climate Change Conference – COP22, we urge Governments and civil society to carefully consider this message.

Premise

 

To this day, the legal instruments in place since the Rio de Janeiro Conference in 1992 have not been able to effectively prevent or mitigate climate change: this global phenomenon is increasingly accelerating and threatening the life of the ecosystem.

Oceans, forests and soil cannot absorb the enormous quantity of pollution produced daily by the existing model of production and consumption, an economic model dominated by international finance and politics and which is no more sustainable.

ICC Report (5th Report 2014) and WMO data are alarming: 2016 has been the year that carbon dioxide officially passed the symbolic 400 ppm mark, never to return below it in our lifetimes, according to scientists.

Even though there are some hopeful signs that world leaders are willing to take actions to reduce emissions, those efforts will have to happen on an accelerating timetable in order to avoid 2°C (3.6°F) of warming. That’s the level outlined by policymakers as a safe threshold for climate change. And even if the world limits warming to that benchmark, it will still likely spell doom for low-lying small island states and have serious repercussions around the world, from more extreme heat waves to droughts, coastal flooding and the extinction of many coral reefs.

World peace is also at stake: the desire to control valuable oil and natural gas assets is fueling world conflicts.

Priorities

 

It’s against this backdrop that we believe that human health and the continuity of life on Earth for future generations should be the main political responsibility of governments and the international community.

The “ecological truth” needs to be told and made known to all,  governments, the United Nations and civil society, resisting those economic and political powers interested in reassuring, hiding, underestimating, mystifying.

Fossil fuel production not only consumption must be stopped and new efforts should be put in developing clean and renewable energy and innovative technology.

Limiting fossil fuel emissions without stopping fossil fuel production will not be enough since the economy will keep on depending on this source.

 

International justice and global governance

 

A global emergency such as climate change cannot be dealt with only at a national level: the existing economic model based on fossil fuel is already international. We need new rules and supranational governance hastening the transition away from fossil fuels and to a clean energy economy and holding governments to account for reaching those targets.

The international obligations related to cutting carbon emissions post-2020 are indivisible and erga omnes, since all member States need to comply with them.

Equally indivisible are the obligations related to the allowed emissions during the transitional period (which should not exceed 2025).

Access to justice for individuals and NGOs must be guaranteed also at the international level since the environment is about life itself, therefore a real human right.

US Courts have already been dealing and could do it further in the future with supranational issues: in the Volkswagen case (accused of cheating diesel pollution tests in the United States and elsewhere); and as a consequence of the JASTA Act (Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act) which gives families and survivors of the September 11 attacks an avenue to pursue justice in American courts against Saudi Arabia for what they believe is its connection to the terrorist attack. JASTA narrows the scope of the legal doctrine of foreign sovereign immunity by authorizing federal courts to exercise personal jurisdiction over any foreign state’s support for one’s act of international terrorism against a U.S. national or property.

In the light of the climate change emergency, we believe that two supranational institutions are necessary:

a) a reformed, strengthened UNEP with monitoring and control powers;

b) an International Court for the Environment in the form to be considered to be the most appropriate by the international community: a new specialised institution which will give access not only to States but also to international organizations, NGOs and individuals, in the name of a universal human right which is life itself.

Waiting for such a Court to be created, we propose that present crimes committed by individuals against the environment be immediately included within the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court, if it gains a majority of two thirds of the Parties without it being necessary to amend the Rome Statute.

THE UN CLIMATE CONFERENCE COP22 – MARRAKESH 2016

Civil Society petition

for an International Court of the  Environment

The International Court of the Environment Foundation (ICEF), on the occasion of the UN Climate Conference in Marrakesh, repeats the request made for the first time in Rio in 1992 for the creation of an International Court of the Environment, together with many other NGOs, scientific organizations and various concerned States

 

Proclaims that

 

the necessity and urgency of this new judicial institution has become even more relevant due to the severe climate change that is occurring and the overall degradation of the planet Earth in its fundamental equilibrium;

 

States that

 

it respects the essential role of  the United Nations, international organizations and the States of the different continents, but feels that it is even more important to call to mind their legal responsibilities and policies in relationship to the protection of the fundamental value of life, in the interests of all humanity and future generations (responsibility to protect);

 

Believing that

 

generic assurances or commitments  that are not precise or specific enough in content are insufficient  in the timeframe and manner for the compliance by all responsible parties and, primarily by the States who bear the main responsibility for the legal protection of the common environment  in all its components;

 

Denounces

 

in a strong and loyal manner, on an ethical and cultural level, the States for not having fulfilled the commitments made in Rio in 1992 with the Conventions on Climate Change and Diversity, although they declared that “change in the Earth’s climate and its adverse effects are a common concern of humankind” and that biodiversity is important “for evolution and for maintaining life sustaining systems of the biosphere”;

 

Denounces

 

In particular, the States

-for the serious delay-that persists- in the adoption of preventive and precautionary measures both in their national law and in the international arena, aimed at arresting the economic causes of the grave global crisis of the climate, water and biodiversity;

-for not having made public and adopted a common credible and effective strategy for real global economic and environmental governance duly characterized by specific and binding commitments on behalf of the international community as a whole;

- for not having defined the transition phase necessary for transit from the economy based on fossil climate changing energy to a new, positive, truly sustainable economy: this step means that, in the short term, coal, oil and natural gas should not be extracted from the ground or from the sea and, above all, they must no longer be marketed and used with the resulting geopolitical implications inevitable for saving the planet;

- for having so far ignored the role of civil society betraying the hopes raised in the 1992 Rio Conference: indeed it is civil society, that is, individuals and peoples, who perceive in advance the signs and effects of climate change, the water and food crises, the loss of the unique heritage of widespread biodiversity; civil society itself now feels threatened with regard to the primary value of life for themselves and their descendants and are harshly judging the States and their insistence on self-attributing and not recognizing human rights, including that of to life itself;

- for having tolerated serious damage to the common resources of the planet, both in the internal areas of their jurisdiction, and in external: most recently, the deliberate and intentional criminal behaviour of a famous car manufacturer direct towards concealing and falsifying the actual data of atmospheric emissions, without a legal exemplary reaction from a real  international court.

 

Proposes

 

-a positive and collaborative strategy of all involved parties in a common destiny for the protection of life on earth, our only common home: individuals, associations and groups, peoples, public and private companies, multinational corporations, governments, international organizations, and the international community;

-a common economic strategy for the equitable and rational use of resources, energy conservation, the use of renewable energy, environmentally friendly trade, a rational and non-predatory utilization of the soil and fertile lands, a special care for all biodiversity and freshwater, an ecosystem approach to the seas and oceans as well as rivers … and, of course, an immediate halt to current international financial speculation and tax havens;

- to immediately ensure the effectiveness of existing international legal rules and of new international obligations that will arise from the 2015 Paris Climate Conference;

- to ensure a balance between two international poles: an administrative authority (perhaps the current reformed UNEP) and a judicial authority (perhaps the current International Court of Justice if its Statute was amended). Present crimes committed by individuals against the environment can immediately be included within the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court, if it gains a majority of two thirds of the Parties without it being necessary to amend the Rome Statute.