Harvard, Cambridge, Yale, Melbourne, Auckland, Sydney Law Academics Support USP Students’ Call to Take Climate Change to the ICJ

Pacific Islands Students Fighting Climate Change’s call for Pacific Island Forum leaders to seek an advisory opinion on climate change from the International Court of Justice (ICJ) is being supported by senior international law academics from faculties including those at Columbia, Yale, Cambridge, Harvard, Auckland and Melbourne Universities.

PIF Foreign Ministers agreed in July for this proposal to be referred for leaders’ consideration in Tuvalu this week.

To help convince undecided governments of the benefits of taking climate change to the ICJ, PISFCC reached out to selected experts asking if they support the following: 

An advisory opinion of the ICJ on the obligations of states under international law to protect present and future generations against the adverse effects of climate change (precise question yet to be decided)is an initiative worthy of full and detailed consideration by members of the Pacific Island Forum.

 Supporters responding include senior professors specialising in Climate Change Law, International Law and Environmental Law at some of the world’s most prestigious law schools: Cambridge, Harvard, Yale, Columbia, Melbourne and Auckland. USP’s own experts in International and Climate Change Law, as well as USP’s Centre for Sustainable Development, also support it.

 Especially notable supporters include: 

·     Professor Philippe Sands QC of the University College of London, a preeminent international lawyer and academic sometimes involved in ICJ cases, who has written of his initial opposition and subsequent support for an ICJ AO on climate change. 

·     Professor Jacqueline Peel of the University of Melbourne, an internationally-recognised expert in the field of environmental and climate change law who has written extensively on climate change litigation; 

·     Professor Michael Gerrard, experienced environmental litigator and founder and director of the world’s preeminent climate law centre, Columbia University’s Sabin Center for Climate Change Law.

·     Professor Wendy Jacobs, Esq, Director of the Harvard Law SchoolEmmett Environmental Law & Policy Clinic and an experienced environmental litigator.

·     Dr Morgan Wairiu,Incoming Director ofUSP’s Pacific Centre for Environment and Sustainable Development where many of the Pacific island country negotiators now attending UNFCCC COPs trained.

·     Farhana Yamin, an international environmental lawyer with nearly 30 years of experience writing, teaching and negotiating climate law, currently an Associate Fellow at Chatham House.

·     Professor Douglas Kysar, Deputy Dean ofYale Law School, who has for some years researched and advocated for an ICJ AO on climate change.

In conveying his support Professor Jorges Vinuales of the University of Cambridge wrote “I fully support this initiative. I have tried to advocate for it for quite some time, but I realise that it can only be successful if there is a grass roots movement such as your initiative”.

 Experts supporting an ICJ AO on climate change:

1.    Professor Philippe Sands QC, Faculty of Laws, University College of London

2.    Professor Morgan Wairiu, PaCE-SD, University of the South Pacific

3.    Professor Jacqueline Peel, Melbourne Law School, University of Melbourne

4.    Professor Michael Gerrard, Columbia Law School, Columbia University

5.    Professor John Dugard, Leiden Law School, Leiden University

6.    Professor Douglas Kysar, Yale Law School, Yale University

7.    Professor Wendy Jacobs, Harvard Law School, Harvard University

8.    Professor Jorge E Vinuales, Faculty of Law, University of Cambridge

9.    Professor David Boyd, UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and the Environment and University of British Colombia

10.  Professor Tim Stephens, Sydney Law School, University of Sydney

11.  Professor Klaus Bosselmann, Faculty of Law, University of Auckland

12.  Professor Pierre-Marie Dupuy, Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva

13.  Professor Don Anton, Griffith Law School, Griffith University

14.  Professor Meinhard Doelle, Schulich School of Law, Dalhousie University

15.  Professor David Forman, School of Law, University of Hawaii at Manoa

16.  Professor Melissa Scanlan, Vermont Law School

17.  Professor Alex Gardner, School of Law, University of Western Australia

18.  Professor Joanne Scott, Department of Law, European University Institute

19.  Professor Shelley Saxer, School of Law, Pepperdine University 

20.  Professor David Takacs, Hastings College of Law, University of California

21.  Professor Sharon Mascher,  Faculty of Law, University of Calgary

22.  Attorney Antonio A. Oposa Jnr, Ramon Magsaysay Award Winner, Philippines

23.  Professor Lisa Benjamin, Lewis & Clark Law School

24.  Professor Patrick Parenteau, Vermont Law School

25.  Professor Rebecca Bratspies, School of Law, College University of New York

26.  Professor Nigel Bankes, Faculty of Law, University of Calgary

27.  Farhana Yamin, Associate Fellow, Chatham House

28.  Professor Muhammed T Ladan, Faculty of Law, Ahmadu Bello University 

29.  Professor Zygmunt Broel Plater, Boston College Law School Boston College

30.  Associate Professor Achinthi Vithanage, George Washington University Law School

31.  Professor Randall Abate, Political Science Department, Monmouth University

32.  Adj. Assoc Professor Justin Rose, School of Law, University of the South Pacific

33.  Dr Morsen Moses, School of Law, University of the South Pacific

34.  Dr Margaretha Wewerinke-Singh, Leiden University and University of the South Pacific

35.  Lee-Ann Sackett, Lecturer, School of Law, University of the South Pacific