In August 2021, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published a report which has been widely described as representing a “code red for humanity”. In light of the report findings and the magnitude of the challenge faced by the world as we work towards net-zero emissions, Earth Day 2022 takes on particular significance. The purpose of Earth Day is to raise awareness and promote support for global environmental protection. This is now more important than ever as, without widespread acceptance of and action to tackle the issues, we will not get to where we need to be. The world is rapidly running out of time.
The 2022 Earth Day theme is #InvestInOurPlanet. At Pallas, we believe that a key tool in the global arsenal for driving positive environmental change and climate progress across both public and private sectors is creative use of the law. This is one example of an investment that can be made to the benefit of many and used strategically can force corporates, governments and policymakers alike to adapt.
The use of strategic litigation to bring about positive outcomes is something with which we at Pallas are well acquainted and importantly in the context of environmental litigation global judicial appetite to find in favour of the climate activists is on the rise. This is demonstrated by the success of cases such as Urgenda (in which the Dutch Supreme Court ruled that the Dutch government has positive obligations to urgently and significantly reduce emissions in the Netherlands in line with its human rights obligations) and Neubauer (in which the German Federal Constitutional Court ruled that certain of the provisions of Germany’s Climate Change Act were unconstitutional because they delayed Germany’s main emission reductions burdens until after 2030). The success of such cases also has the added (albeit indirect) benefit of encouraging decision-makers to self-scrutinise, make the right decisions first time round and avoid the risk of being subjected to court proceedings (and being dragged across the coals in the court of public opinion!).
Of course, we believe every day should be Earth Day. Earth Day is not simply about walking to work once a year, or buying eco-friendly products but about recognising that as a global community we need to work together to revolutionise the way we have been living.
At Pallas, we are proud to have embedded sustainability and social and environmental responsibility into our culture and business practices from the outset, and pledge to be carbon neutral by 2025. We are proud to champion the conduct of greener litigation and to work with our clients and our peers towards a better future for all.
Happy Earth Day 2022!