Where do we take the struggle for climate justice when governments continue to fail to make structural changes which are urgently needed? During this NIAS Talk, journalist Jaap Tielbeke and legal scholars Jeff Handmaker and Daphina Misiedjan discuss the role of (environmental) law in increasing efforts to fight climate change.
It has been about a year since Greta Thunberg sailed to New York to address the climate crisis at the UN Assembly. Even though the world is gripped by Covid-19, the climate crisis continues alongside. Even more striking, 2020 has been a year of unprecedented climate disruption, of which the wildfires in Australia, Siberia and California are just an example. From the Urgenda case to the more recent example of Portuguese youngsters filing a climate lawsuit at the European Court of Human Rights: recent years have witnessed an increasing number of citizens and lawyers using the justice system to address the urgency in making structural changes in climate policies. Together with Jaap Tielbeke, Jeff Handmaker and Daphina Misiedjan, we explore the impact of lawsuits and legal mobilization in environmental issues.
About the speakers
Jaap Tielbeke is journalist at De Groene Amsterdammer and former journalist-in-residence at NIAS, where he worked on his recently published book Een beter milieu begint niet bij jezelf (2020) where he looked at the politics of climate change. He argues that lawsuits like the Urgenda case ‘break’ with the idea that consumers and governments have equal responsibilities in fighting the climate crisis.
Jeff Handmaker is Senior Lecturer of Law, Human Rights and Development at the International Institute of Social Studies (ISS). From February 2021 Handmaker will coordinate the NIAS Theme group on Legal Mobilization Revisited: Analysing Law-Based Advocacy.
Daphina Misiedjan is Assistant Professor in Human Rights and the Environment at ISS, and is specialised in public international law and environmental law issues. During her upcoming fellowship at NIAS, Misiedjan will carry out research into legal mobilization, rights of nature, and changing the status quo through Earth Jurisprudence.
Fenneke Wekker (moderator) is Head of Academic Affairs at NIAS, and researcher Political Sociology at the University of Amsterdam.