Judges should remain judges and should not become scientists or policymakers

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The level of emissions reduction in a specific country, and the pathways for achieving those reductions, are primarily political questions. Courts are tasked with controlling the lawfulness of governmental decision-making, such as regarding the punishment of non-compliant emitters. However, given the complexity and uncertainty in climate science, and the many interests affected by emissions reduction policies, courts are not equipped to replace political decision-making. While judicial adjudication based on human rights is important to protect citizens against the harmful effects of climate change, it becomes questionable when judges approve claims prescribing economy-wide emissions reduction targets. An activist international court may see rebound effects weakening its power, including countries withdrawing from its jurisdiction.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationContemporary Climate Change Debates
Subtitle of host publicationA student primer
EditorsM. Hulme
ISBN (Electronic)978-04-2944-625-2
Publication statusPublished - 2019

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