Might the courts hold the answer to climate change? With great uncertainty hovering over the upcoming international climate talks in Paris – not to mention persistent policy gridlock in many national governments – advocates around the world are looking to judges for solutions that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Climate change litigation faces many significant obstacles, but this summer advocates achieved an internationally-renowned victory in a court in The Hague, which ruled that the state has a duty to protect its citizens from the ravages expected from climate change.
In 2013, Roger Cox issued proceedings against the Dutch government on behalf of the Dutch NGO Urgenda and 900 Dutch Citizens. In June 2015, these proceedings concluded with an unprecedented and groundbreaking verdict in which the District court in The Hague ordered the Dutch government to reduce its CO2 emission by at least 25% in 2020 (compared to 1990 levels).
On November 17th, 2015, the Kleinman Center hosted a Penn Program on Regulation Risk Regulation Seminar, in partnership with the Penn Wharton Risk Management and Decision Processes Center, the Perry World House, and the Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures. Moderated by Cary Coglianese, the Edward B. Shils Professor of Law at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, the panel discussion opened with a presentation from Roger Cox, the lead lawyer in the landmark Dutch case, who shared insights from the strategy he successfully pursued. His opening remarks were followed by commentary by leading legal authorities Lucas Bergkamp and Dr. Veerle Heyvaert. Video excerpts from the session are available below.
Read more about the Urgenda case and the event in this analysis by RegBlog's Sara Bodnar, and in the Penn Current.
Dr. Heyvaert references this journal in her comments:
Dr. Bergkamp has represented multinational enterprises in a variety of environmental, health and safety and life sciences-related matters at compliance and policy levels. Lucas counsels on the laws of various European Union Member States, interfaces between national laws and EC law, environmental and product liability, and proposed regulations. He also advises on European pharmaceutical, medical device and health-related laws and policies. He has a particular experience regarding technical trade barriers and possible remedies.
Further, Lucas holds law and medical degrees and is recognized as a leading regulatory lawyer in many legal directories and by many organizations. He has published numerous articles and written several books on regulatory law, and most recently co-authored a book on EU legislative and regulatory processes. He was Professor at the Erasmus University Rotterdam, Faculty of Law, for 10 years, and now teaches in the Masters of Energy and Environmental Law Program at Catholic University of Leuven, KUL.
Mr. Cox specialises in structuring public-private partnerships, working at the intersections of environmental law, the law of obligations, energy law, building law, procurement law, property law and law of legal entities. He assists public authorities and other parties in innovation processes and is frequently engaged to act as a central project advisor to all interested parties.
Roger is the founder and director of the Planet Prosperity Foundation, an organisation dedicated to achieving the transition to a sustainable economy and to facilitating the government and market in this effort.
Author of the book Revolution Justified, Roger is also a member of the Business Advisory Council of the US Cradle to Cradle Product Innovation Institute, the Urgenda Platform of the sustainability and innovation organisation Stichting Urgenda, the Advisory Council of the sustainable business association De Groene Zaak, and the Platform DGO sustainable area development platform.
Dr. Heyvaert Veerle is a Senior Lecturer in Law in the Department of Law at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), and Editor-in-Chief of the journal Transnational Environmental Law (Cambridge University Press). She has published extensively on issues of transnational environmental law and risk regulation, including recent articles on the emergence of hybrid norms in the European Journal of International Law (2009) and the globalisation of chemicals regulation in the Journal of Law and Society (2009). Additionally she has published on issues of health and environmental law, European law and decision-making in areas of scientific uncertainty in English, Dutch and Italian, and teaches environmental law and European law.
Veerle has an LL.M. from Harvard Law School and a PhD from the European University Institute in Florence (It). In 1998-1999, she was the inaugural Sir Peter North Fellow at the Centre for Socio-Legal Studies and Keble College, Oxford.