네덜란드 기후변화 판결,
네덜란드 기후변화 판결, ‘단순 재판 소송이 아닌 희망의 과정’
- 네덜란드 시민단체는 정부가 온실가스 배출량 감축목표를 더 높여야 한다는 판결을 이끌어냈다.
- NGO 디렉터이자 이 소송을 준비한 Marjan Minnesma의 설명이다.
2015년 7월 10일 기후 행동 2015
“이 모든 것은 인터넷 토론으로부터 시작되었다. 우리 웹사이트에는 지속가능성 전문가들을 위한 싱크탱크 플랫폼이 있다. 이 사건의 변호사이며 이 플랫폼의 주요 사용자인 한 Roger Cox는 기후변화에 대한 모든 종류의 보고서와 책을 읽은 후 온실가스 배출을 감축하고 지구 기온 상승을 억제할 만큼 정치인들이 충분히 빠르게 움직이지 않을 것이라고 생각했다.
Cox는 정상적인 사회를 유지하기 위한 유일한 방법은 판사가 말을 하도록 하는 것이라고 생각했다. 만약 판사에게 모든 자세한 사항들을 전달한다면, 판사는 기후변화는 다급하고 심각한 문제이며, 정부가 국민 안전 차원에서 국민들을 보호 해야만 한다고 판결할 것이라고 확신했다. 우리는 네덜란드를 더 지속가능하게 만들려고 노력하는 NGO이다. 그리고 나는 법을 공부했기에 그의 뜻을 알아차리고 말했다. “Let's do it"
Roger와 또 다른 한명의 변호사가 이 사건의 법적 부분을 맡았다. 국민들이 법원을 통해 정부가 기후변화에 대해 행동을 취하도록 요구하는 것이 전례가 없었기 때문에 우리는 공개적으로 모든 것을 토론했으며, 엄청난 양의 다양한 정보를 수집했다. 우리는 이것을 “군중청원(crowdpleading)"이라고 불렀다.
우리는 네덜란드의 국민에게 그들의 전문성과 지식 공유를 부탁하고 우리가 이 기후 재판의 틀로서 사용할 수 있는 유사한 재판 사례에 대해 알려달라고 요청했다. 많은 사람들이 이 사건에 함께 하기를 원했으며 우리는 약 900명의 시민들로 구성된 공동 고소인단을 형성했다. 우르젠다 파운데이션(Urgenda Foundation)은 공동 고소인들을 대신하여 법적 절차에 착수하였으며, 약 1년 반 후인 올해 4월 우리는 마침내 법정에 섰다.
공동 고소인들은 . 공동 고소인들의 절반 이상은 우리의 뉴스레터를 읽은 후 참여 요청을 한 일반 시민들이 었으며, 선생님, DJ, 건축가, 시민단체, 음악가, 학생 등 각계각층의 사람들로 구성되었다. 판결 당시 주부, 퇴직자, 우리에게 학교를 결석할 수 있게 해달라고 요청한 11살의 소년을 포함한 100명 이상의 공동 고소인들이 법정에 우리와 함께 있었다.
내 생각에 변호사인 Roger와 Dennis는 모든 정보를 너무 잘 전달해서 판사가 우리에게 동의하지 않는 일은 상상할 수 없었다. 그리고 나는 기후변화에 대해 잘 알지 못하며 기후변화는 법의 문제가 아니라 정치의 문제라고 계속 주장하는 주 변호인단들에게 실망했다. 우리는 국가의 기후 공약이 너무 불충분해서 시민으로서 우리는 법원에 “Please protect me"라고 말할 수 있다고 주장했다. 정말로 정부가 기후변화에 따른 국민 보호책임을 지고 있지 않았기 때문에 판사는 우리에게 동의할 수밖에 없었다.
판결 직후, 변호사들과 나는 끌어안고 눈물을 흘렸다. 우리는 이 사건을 위해 2년 반 동안 열심히 일 해왔다. “기후변화는 다급하고 중요한 사안이다”라고 시작된 판결문은 "정부는 5년 안에 1990년 배출량의 최소 25%를 감축해야만 한다”고 결정했다. 이는 우리가 희망할 수 있었던 최고의 것이었다. 우리는 너무 행복했다. 축하의 이메일로 넘쳐났으며 전 세계의 신문 및 라디오와 인터뷰를 했으며 자정이 지날 때 까지 끝이 나지 않았다.
“나는 당신을 알지 못하지만, TV 앞에 앉아서 당신과 함께 눈물을 흘렸습니다.”라는 문구를 포함하는 수십 개의 메시지를 받았다. 이 사건은 단순한 재판 소송이 아니라 사람들에게 다시 희망을 가질 수 있게 해주는 희망의 과정이었다. 희망하건데 네덜란드와 같은 평범한 국가에서도 좋은 법체계 안에서 판사가 할 수 있는 것을 보았기 때문에 많은 사람들에게 우리와 똑같은 일을 할 수 있는 용기를 사람들에게 줄 것이다. 바라건대 더 많은 사람들이 기후 재판에서 이길 것이다.“
EUGENE, Ore.?‘The most important lawsuit on the planet right now’ was born in a small, unassuming office on a tree-lined street in the liberal Oregon city of Eugene.
The office is home to Our Children’s Trust, a nonprofit founded in 2010 to bring coordinated legal actions on behalf of young people to hold governments accountable for reducing emissions to levels scientists say we need to protect our climate.
Last year, the group filed a landmark lawsuit on behalf of 21 young people against the federal government over its affirmative acts encouraging the fossil fuel industry and its failure to act to reduce carbon emissions. In September, a federal judge heard arguments on the case and is expected to issue a ruling on whether or not the case will move forward by November. (The government could keep fighting the case all the way to the Supreme Court, or since it’s a civil case they could settle out of court?not for money?but both parties agreeing to what the 21 youth are after, a comprehensive national plan to quickly reduce emissions.)
The U.S. government has known for at least 50 years that carbon dioxide pollution from burning fossil fuels would cause climate change and endanger future generations, argue the plaintiffs. Despite that, the government has not only failed to take action to reduce emissions but has continued policies of allowing fossil fuel exploitation.
In doing so, the federal government has violated their generation’s constitutional rights to life, liberty, and property, and failed to protect public trust resources including the atmosphere.
According to the plaintiffs, there is no political will to do what is needed to slow the effects of climate change before it’s too late?so the courts must step in to force action.
“We have literally no time to wait?we need brave action from a judge right now.”
“We have literally no time to wait?we need brave action from a judge right now,” said 20-year-old plaintiff Kelsey Cascadia Rose Juliana, who is from Eugene. The other 20 plaintiffs come from all over the United States, including many areas already heavily impacted by the effects of climate change such a Florida and Louisiana.
“We’re asking for a change in the system, an end to prioritizing the needs of the fossil fuel industry, and upholding the rights of young people,” Juliana said.
When she was 15 years old, Juliana was a co-plaintiff in an earlier lawsuit filed by Our Children’s Trust against the state of Oregon to force it to cut carbon emissions. The group has launched similar actions in all 50 states, and also works on global legal actions.
Our Children’s Trust fits in perfectly in progressive Eugene?which features on many online listicles for the ‘best cities for hippies.’
The staff of 10 bike to work almost every day in an effort to reduce their individual carbon footprints. That’s part of an organizational policy that staff members commit to be mindful of the emissions they are contributing to the problem.
“Our staff is passionate about climate change, and they’re all completely committed to dedicating their work and careers to solving climate change,” said Julia Olson, executive director and chief legal counsel of Our Children’s Trust.
Besides being conscious of their carbon footprints, the staff stays up to date on the latest climate science.
“Everyone really does read the science, not just the media’s reporting of the science, but reading the scientific articles that come out and keeping up with that,” Olson said.
Despite the despair that can be caused by reading up on the latest scientific reports about climate change?including recent research that showed the world is locked into 400 parts per million (ppm) carbon dioxide in the atmosphere for the foreseeable future?“we don’t shut down,” Olson said.
“We’re trying to work through that and find solutions that will really make a difference because we don’t believe we can compromise,” Olson said.
Compromises and piecemeal approaches thwarted Olson’s early work aimed at stopping individual fossil fuel industry projects.
In 2003, Olson worked on a case challenging a project on the border of California and Mexico. A U.S. company was going to build power plants in Mexico, transport natural gas from the U.S. to the plants via pipeline, and bring the energy back to the U.S. on transmission lines over the border.
“The whole thing was to avoid an environmental review in the U.S. and avoid all of our Clean Air Act requirements by producing the energy in Mexico and shipping all the energy back to the U.S.,” Olson said.
our children's trust
Eight kids just won a lawsuit forcing their state to create new climate change rules
She worked with a coalition of Mexicans and Americans who opposed the project and filed a lawsuit based on the fact that the company had not done a climate change analysis as part of its environmental review?which only covered the pipeline and transmission lines, not the impacts of pollution from the plants.
Olson’s team won the first round, and the company was forced to do a second environmental review. They challenged the project a second time, but lost on the second case.
“That’s pretty typical…it’s like these projects have nine lives,” Olson said.
“I call it whack-a-mole, you’re just trying to beat down all of these projects and play defense,” Olson said.
With Our Children’s Trust’s state and federal cases, Olson said they are challenging the whole system rather than one project at a time.
The federal lawsuit targets all of the major departments and agencies in the federal government that play a role in energy supply and production?including the White House?and the pollution control side of the coin?including the Environmental Protection Agency.
“Rather than challenge the Dakota Access Pipeline and Keystone XL and this new facility for LNG in this and that place, we’re going after the whole system collectively.”
“The federal government has authorized, promoted, and supported every aspect of our dependence on fossil fuels and it really is a culprit in causing this problem and locking in climate pollution and suppressing alternative options,” Olson said.
“Rather than challenge the Dakota Access Pipeline and Keystone XL and this new facility for LNG in this and that place, we’re going after the whole system collectively,” Olson said.
The goal of the federal lawsuit is to shut down new fossil fuel extraction projects and to stop new fossil fuel infrastructure from being built.
It would also force the government to come up with a comprehensive national plan to quickly reduce emissions. The science-based goal is to have the U.S. at least 95% off of fossil fuels by 2050, which experts say is possible.
President Barack Obama and the Environmental Protection Agency in 2014 proposed the Clean Power Plan, a national framework for states to set their own goals to cut carbon emissions from the power sector by 30%. It’s not a federal plan, Olson said, and emissions reductions goals are not science-based and don’t go far enough.
The plan follows Obama’s theory that incremental changes can make a difference, Olson said, but unfortunately there isn’t time for incrementalism.
“Some climate change impacts are locked in, but if we started tomorrow with what’s already technologically available and economically achievable, economist Jeffrey Sachs said it’s a bargain?with just 1% of our national income we could solve this problem,” Olson said.
What’s lacking, however, is the political will to enact those changes, Olson said.
“People don’t understand how easy it would be to switch (to renewable energy) and stop polluting. All that’s lacking is political will and the emergency mobilization to make it happen ? that’s why we need court orders to enforce it,” Olson said.
Past court rulings show that systematic change can be forced on state and federal governments by the judiciary, Olson said. Some examples are Brown vs. The Board of Education, which desegregated schools, and Brown vs. Plata, which forced California to reduce its prison population.
Climate-related court victories have been sparse to-date. However, in 2014, Rhode Island Bristol County District Attorney Sam Sutter dropped all charges against two climate activists who had blocked a large shipment of coal from reaching New England’s biggest power station.
Sutter told the media afterwards that his decision was in the interest of the people of Bristol County.
“Climate change is one of the gravest crises our planet has ever faced,” Sutter said.
“In my humble opinion, the political leadership on this issue has been gravely lacking,” Sutter told the press.
Rapid, court-enforced action is what is needed to stave off the worst effects of climate change, said James Hansen, a former NASA climate scientist and adjunct professor in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Columbia University.
Hansen is acting as a plaintiff in the case along with his 18-year-old granddaughter Sophie Kivlehan.
“Quietly, with minimal objection from the scientific community, the assumption that young people will somehow figure out a way to undo the deeds of their forebears, has crept into and spread like a cancer,” a paper released on Oct. 4 by Hansen and other leading scientists entitled, ‘Young People’s Burden,’ said.
The government defense in the case has argued that the government could only be blamed for creating danger for young people if it had taken “affirmative action” to create that danger, Hansen said in the paper.
“Apparently, as Julia Olson points out, they do not want to count the permits for extraction, drilling, exports, and imports, transmission lines and pipelines, all to accommodate the fossil fuel energies, as part of the totality of national energy policies that the defendants are responsible for,” the paper said.
Global average temperatures are already 1.1 degrees Celsius warmer than pre-industrial temperatures. Sea levels were 20-30 feet higher the last time the planet was this warm, Hansen said in a video with his granddaughter released along with the paper.
Despite the damage already done, it’s still possible to keep the temperature rise below the ‘safe’ 1.5 C, Hansen said.
It’s possible to reduce emissions by several percent each year, Hansen said in the video. The Dutch government is preparing a plan to reduce emissions by 50% by 2030 because of a successful lawsuit by citizens against the government, Hansen said.
Still, even with significant emissions reductions, carbon extraction from the atmosphere will likely be necessary. The technology for such action has not been developed yet, and could cost trillions of dollars, Hansen’s granddaughter said in the video.
“They assume today’s young people will do this in the future…that’s not fair,” Kivlehan said.
“How could adults knowingly leave such prospects for young people?” Kivlehan asked in the video.
The 21 youth plaintiffs in the lawsuit come from diverse racial, social, and economic backgrounds. Olson said that many had already been engaging with Our Children’s Trust and some had actually asked to be plaintiffs and to sue the federal government.
“I don’t even know how we ended up with this amazing group of kids,” Olson said, adding that they had to turn down a lot of kids who wanted to join the lawsuit.
Many are on the frontlines of climate change, and have already been impacted by its effects.
Levi Draheim, the youngest plaintiff in the case at nine years old, lives in Indialantic, Florida.
Draheim wakes up with nightmares about sea level rise and what’s happening in his community. He can’t swim in the water he grew up near because of rising levels of toxic algae, and has watched as his neighbors use sandbags to prepare for inundations resulting from climate change.
Thirteen-year-old Jayden Foytlin from Rayne, Louisiana, saw her house ravaged by the recent flooding in the state.
Despite the youths’ experiences, Olson said some critics have questioned what the youth really know about climate change, and have implied the kids have somehow been coerced into the lawsuit.
“We’re going up against a lot, our names will forever be a part of this, whether we win or lose.”
Eleven-year-old Avery McRae responded to the opinion held by some adults who know about the case that the kids “don’t know anything.”
McRae clarified ‘what she knew’ about climate change, saying, “I know that I have a constitutional right to a stable environment.”
After hearing arguments for the case last month in Oregon, Aiken is expected to issue a ruling on whether the case can proceed by November.
Despite the challenges they face, Juliana said she remains optimistic.
“We’re going up against a lot, our names will forever be a part of this, whether we win or lose,” Juliana said.
“And we’re going to win.”
--Four Massachusetts teens just won a major victory for the environment
PA Wire/Press Association Images
By Danielle Wiener-Bronner
Shaun Miller has a lot to celebrate. He was one of four plaintiffs, joined by the Conservation Law Foundation (CLF), and the Massachusetts Energy Consumer Alliance who sued Massachusetts for falling short on greenhouse gas reductions, and won.
“This is an historic victory for young generations advocating for changes to be made by government. The global climate change crisis is a threat to the well-being of humanity, and to my generation, that has been ignored for too long,” said Miller. When he’s talking about his generation Miller, 17, is talking about teens.
View image on Twitter
View image on Twitter
Our Children's Trust @OCTorg
Youth Secure Victory in Massachusetts Climate Change Lawsuit http://ourchildrenstrust.org/sites/default/files/2016.05.17.MASupCtPR.FINAL_.pdf … #breakfree2016
5:10 AM - 18 May 2016
96 96 Retweets 107 107 likes
Miller, along with plaintiffs Isabel Kain, James Coakley, and Olivia Gieger, is one of many young Americans fighting to protect the climate. This case was a resounding victory for them.
On Tuesday, the Massachusetts Supreme Court ruled that the state hasn’t abided by the environmental reforms laid out in the 2008 Global Warming Solutions Act. The decision overturned rulings by lower courts that sided with the state, marking a reversal from previous opinions. Now, the state’s Department of Energy Protection must take a number of specific measures to make sure that by 2020, the state emits 25% fewer greenhouse gases than it did in 1990.
In a statement given on Tuesday, CLF lawyer Jenny Rushlow called the decision a victory. “Today our highest court declared clearly and unequivocally that our leaders can no longer sit on their hands while Massachusetts communities are put at risk from the effects of climate change,” she said.
Sen. Marc R. Pacheco @MarcRPacheco
As author and chief sponsor of the GWSA, I am immensely pleased. Thank you to @TheCLF for working so hard. https://twitter.com/TheCLF/status/732598184338395136 …
Sen. Marc R. Pacheco @MarcRPacheco
I want to thank all the plaintiffs, including the teenagers from Wellesley and Boston, for keeping the powerful accountable.
5:40 AM - 18 May 2016
13 13 Retweets 13 13 likes
For the teens who heard the arguments presented before the court back in January, the ruling was emotional. “It’s so surreal. I always ?believed in what we were doing, so it was such an amazing moment to see the results,” Gieger, 17, told The Boston Herald. She added, “It’s amazing to see what effect we can have.”
Kain and Coakley are students at the Boston Latin School. Miller, who attends Wellesley High School along with Gieger, couldn’t wait to tell her the news. “I was in school and I ran to tell Olivia that it worked out that way… I kept telling her, ‘We won! We won!’ It was such a great day for us and the people in Massachusetts,” he told the Herald.
If our planet’s future lies with teens, it might just be alright.
Story TagsTagsPROJECT EARTHNEWSBRIEFENVIRONMENTMASSACHUSETTS
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