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Tuesday, March 14, 2017

How climate change battles are increasingly being fought, and won, in court

How climate change battles are increasingly being fought, and won, in court

The South African government has lost the country’s first climate change lawsuitafter the hight court ruled against its plans for a coal-fired power station, the latest in a rising tide of international climate litigation.

Environmental NGO EarthLife Africa challenged the government’s approval of the proposed Thabametsi coal-fired power station on the grounds that it should have been preceded by an evaluation of its climate change impacts. The North Gauteng high court agreed and ordered the government to reconsider its approval, taking into account a full climate change impact assessment.

A draft assessment shows that the project slated for the drought-prone Limpopo province will produce significant greenhouse gas emissions, and that the climate impacts threaten the future viability of the plant.

The case comes shortly after a groundbreaking climate case decided last month in Austria. A federal court blocked the expansion of Vienna’s international airport because the increase in carbon emissions that a new runway would generate is inconsistent with Austria’s commitments to tackle climate change. The Austrian decision not only echoes controversies around airport expansions in the UK and France; it’s also the latest example of courts around the world stepping in to hold governments to account for escalating global temperatures.

Full story at




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