How the International Court of Justice can advance climate action
To achieve the Paris Agreement’s goals, states must take swift, comprehensive steps to limit global warming. As the International Court of Justice (ICJ) prepares an advisory opinion to clarify climate obligations, states now have a vital opportunity to help clarify international law on climate action. And although an advisory opinion itself is not legally binding, any climate obligations it identifies would be.
This briefing note argues that international law provides a solid basis for recognising climate obligations. But international instruments protecting foreign investment can make it more difficult for states to take climate action. Ensuring that international obligations are aligned with climate goals requires not only making existing climate obligations more explicit but also taking a more integrated approach to interpreting investment protection treaties and advancing their deep reform.