IBA Annual Conference Sydney 2017

8 Oct - 13 Oct 2017

Room C4.10, Convention Centre, Level 4

Session information

Preventing climate chaos: the latest judicial, legal and policy developments in achieving justice and human rights in an era of climate disruption

Wednesday 11 October (0930 - 1045)

Room C4.10, Convention Centre, Level 4


Presidential Task Force on Climate Change Justice and Human Rights (Lead)
Energy, Environment, Natural Resources and Infrastructure Law Section (SEERIL)
Human Rights Law Committee
IBA's Human Rights Institute
Indigenous Peoples Committee
Litigation Committee


This session will examine how the role of law, legal systems, lawyers and the judiciary are playing increasingly critical roles in the urgent societal response to global climate change. The December 2015 Paris Agreement has been called ‘historic’. However, despite its ambition to keep the global average temperature increase to below 2°C, greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise. As the United National Environment Programme Emissions Gap Report 2016 makes clear, countries’ current pledges and ‘nationally determined contributions’ under the Paris Agreement still leave a significant deficit to achieving the 2°C target. In October 2014, the IBA’s ground-breaking report ‘Achieving Justice and Human Rights in an Era of Climate Disruption’ found that legal systems and institutions were inadequate and ill-equipped to deal with the nature and scale of the problem. The report provided over 50 recommendations to address legal systems’ deficiencies and progress climate justice. Three years on from the release of the 2014 IBA report, this session will provide the opportunity for an updated discussion of important insights from a variety of perspectives, practices and various IBA committees, including Litigation, Human Rights Law, Indigenous Peoples and the Judges Forum, to explore the latest legal, judicial and policy developments. The session will address: • the challenges for implementing the Paris Agreement and its impact on multinational entities; • the significance of the Paris Agreement’s references to human rights and climate justice; • the potential for human rights law to play a key role in addressing climate change and the Paris obligations; • the legal obligations that will arise out of countries efforts to achieve their ‘nationally determined contributions’ under Paris; • the implications and the potential of recent innovative climate-related litigation on several continents; and • how the courts are increasingly playing a role in addressing climate change, including the current and recent cases addressing parties’ efforts to seek redress in the courts. The session also will include a discussion of the work of two IBA Presidential Task Force on Climate Change Justice and Human Rights Working Groups: the Model Statute for Climate Change Remedies and the Legal Aspects of Climate Adaptation working groups.

Session / Workshop Chair(s)

Baroness Helena Kennedy KC International Bar Association, London, England; Co-Chair, IBA's Human Rights Institute
Roger Martella General Electric, Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Programme Officer, Environment, Health and Safety Law Committee


Professor David Estrin Osgoode Hall Law School, Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Council Member, Energy, Environment, Natural Resources and Infrastructure Law Section (SEERIL)
Conor Linehan William Fry, Dublin, Ireland; Secretary, Environment, Health and Safety Law Committee
David W Rivkin Arbitration Chambers, New York, New York, USA; Chair, Nominations Committee