The International Court of Justice is set to advise nations on their legal obligations surrounding climate mitigation for the first time.
This is after the motion was brought forward by Vanuatu, sponsored by more than 130 countries, after it experienced the true impact and damage of climate change.
It estimated that the cost of climate damages to the Pacific nation is around half its annual GDP, with Prime Minister Ishmael Kalsakau hailing the court ruling “a win for climate justice of epic proportions.”
The court will now clarify countries’ existing climate obligations and ensure these are enforce to prevent environmental harm.
Mr Kalsakau continued: “Vanuatu sees today’s historic resolution as the beginning of a new era in multilateral climate co-operation, one that is more fully focused on upholding the rule of international law and an era that places human rights and intergenerational equity at the forefront of climate decision-making.”
Jorge Viñuales, who drafted the legal question for the court, said: “This is climate change. You don’t go through the backdoor. Instead of looking at the Paris Agreement, you zoom out and you look at the entirety of international law. It cannot be possible that destroying the planet is legal.”