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Small island nations take high-emitting countries to court to protect the ocean

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By illuminem briefings 🌎

· 2 min read


illuminem summarizes for you the essential news of the day. Read the full piece on The Guardian or enjoy below

🗞️ Driving the news: On 11 September, in a Hamburg court, small island nations like the Bahamas, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu will challenge major carbon-emitting countries in a first-of-its-kind climate justice case that focuses on protecting the oceans

🔭 The context: The ocean plays a significant role in absorbing CO2 emissions: it takes in 25% of carbon dioxide, holds 90% of the heat from these emissions, and produces half of the global oxygen
• Under the UN convention on the law of the sea, countries have an obligation to prevent and control marine pollution — this lawsuit seeks to have greenhouse gas emissions acknowledged as marine pollution

🌍 Why it matters for the planet: A win for the island nations could obligate countries to reduce carbon emissions and mend marine environments already affected by CO2 pollution
• Such a verdict could also offer nations clearer insights on how to fulfill their commitments under the Paris climate agreement, aiming to keep global temperature rises below 1.5C

⏭️What's next: Depending on the outcome of the lawsuit, countries could face legal obligations to modify their greenhouse gas emissions policies to protect marine environments
• The ruling could also shape international climate policy discussions and further empower vulnerable nations to seek legal redress against major polluters

💬 One quote: "We are confident that international courts and tribunals will not allow this injustice to continue unchecked,” (Kausea Natano, prime minister of Tuvalu)

📈 One stat: Scientists warn that the world could surpass the 1.5C temperature rise target by 2027

Click for more news covering the latest on climate change

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