Global Climate Litigation: Network Update #2

Maria Antonia Tigre
April 08, 2022

In December 2021, the Sabin Center announced the launch of the Peer Review Network of Global Climate Litigation. The national rapporteurs have since engaged in an analysis of the cases in our Global Climate Litigation Database to assess whether cases or updates were missing. We will publish monthly updates that highlight changes in our database throughout this process. These updates complement our climate litigation monthly newsletter, which covers current updates. We are grateful to our rapporteurs for this invaluable contribution. If you would like to join our network, you can check the countries not yet covered here and apply here. If you are aware of any cases that are missing from the database, you can contact Maria Antonia Tigre at [email protected].


France: one case brought in the territory of French Guyana. Guyane Nature Environnement and France Nature Environnement v. France (France, Council of State, 2021)

Germany: three claims brought against federal states in Germany on state climate policies. Cosima Rade, et al. v. Baden-Württemberg (BaWü) (Germany, Federal Constitutional Court, 2021), Matteo Feind, et al. v. Niedersachsen (Germany, Federal Constitutional Court, 2021), Deutsche Umwelthilfe (DUH) v. Baden-Württemberg (BaWü) (Baden-Württemberg Administrative Court, 2021)

Mexico: Six climate-related cases in Mexico: Ruling on the constitutionality of state “green taxes” in Zacatecas (Mexico, Supreme Court, 2017) (on a tax on GHG emissions produced by stationary sources), Greenpeace v. Mexico (Budget reduction for combating climate change) (Mexico, Supreme Court, 2019) (funds assigned for climate change adaptation and mitigation), Mexican Center for Environmental Law (CEMDA) v National Agency for Industrial Security and Environmental Protection in the Hydrocarbon Sector (ASEA) (Mexico, District Court, 2020) (on programs related to methane emissions), Ruling on Constitutionality of “green taxes” in Baja California (Mexico, Circuit Court, 2021) (on tax on GHG emissions by taxing gasoline, diesel, and gas sales in Baja California), Challenge to the constitutionality of amendments to the rules governing Clean Energy Certificates (Mexico, Supreme Court, 2021) (on amendments to Mexico’s Electric Industry Act)

Uganda: Case about adaptation policies related to landslips. Tsama William and Others v. Uganda's Attorney General and Others (Uganda, High Court of Uganda at Mbale, 2020)

World Trade Organization: WTO case on measures implemented by the State of Ontario to promote electricity from renewable energy sources. DS-412: Canada — Certain Measures Affecting the Renewable Energy Generation Sector (WTO, 2010)


UK: Supreme Court overturns decision in Heathrow case

The case concerned the legality of the government’s Airport National Policy Statement (“ANPS”), the policy framework adopted under the Planning Act 2008 (“the Planning Act”), which provides in-principle support for Heathrow airport expansion. In February 2020, HAL and Arora (the two commercial entities, which were interested parties in the case) applied for permission to appeal to the Supreme Court. In May 2020, the Supreme Court agreed to hear the appeal. Arora subsequently withdrew, so when the case went before the Supreme Court for the substantive hearing in October 2020, the sole appellant was HAL. The Government did not participate in the appeal. FoE EWNI and Plan B were the respondents to the appeal and defended the decision by the Court of Appeal. HAL’s appeal challenged the Court of Appeal’s ruling in relation to all four grounds argued by FoE EWNI, and Plan B’s s.5(8) ground. In December 2020, the Supreme Court overturned the Court of Appeal’s decision in full. Friends of the Earth and Others v. Secretary of State for Transport (UK Supreme Court)

Japan: OECD complaint finalized with no agreement between parties

On September 19, 2018, Market Forces filed a complaint with the Japanese National Contact Point (NCP), based on the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, alleging that Mizuho Financial Group, Inc. (Mizuho), Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (SMBC) and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, Inc. (MUFG) breached the Guidelines with regard to their financing of coal power plants in Vietnam. On January 15, 2021, the NCP issued a final statement concluding the process as there was no agreement of the parties to solve issues. Market Forces v. SMBC, MUFG and Mizuho (Japan, OECD National Contact Point)

Japan: Sendai High Court issues judgement on appeal in Japan’s private litigation case against Sendai Power Station

On April 27, 2021, Sendai High Court issued a judgment on the appeal. The parties did not dispute that the power plant could cause the emission of air pollutants. Thus, the issue discussed was whether the threat of damage to the appellant’s life and bodily integrity by the health impact due to the exposure to the air pollutants could be recognized as a violation of personal rights (either the physical rights or the right to a peaceful life) leading to the illegality of the operation of the power plant. The court ruled that while it could not deny that there was abstract danger, there was no sufficient evidence to recognize concrete danger to the appellant’s health. The amounts of emissions of PM 2.5 and NOx are within the normal range and the amounts of other pollutants, including mercury, were all lower than the environmental standards. The court believes that there is no indication that air pollution has worsened after the power plant started operating. As for the public necessity, the presence of surplus at one moment does not mean that there was no public necessity for the power plant since power demand and supply are easily influenced by various circumstances. Moreover, considering the current energy policy, usability and public nature of the power plant concerned cannot be denied while there is discussion and governmental policies to prevent global warming, such as ‘2050 Carbon-Neutral’. Further, the court adds that no concrete danger to global warming nor biodiversity is recognizable. The court rejected the appeal and supported the first instance judgment. The court cannot find concrete danger, which exceeds the socially acceptable upper limits, to health when considering the nature and level of damage, the social usability, public nature, and preventive measures. Sendai Citizens v. Sendai Power Station (Japan, Sendai District Court)


R v. Bramwell et al ("The Shell Six case") (UK)

Trial of Angela Ditchfield (UK)

Plan B Earth and Others v. Prime Minister (UK)

Transport Action Network v. Secretary of State for Transport (on National Policy Statement) (UK)

Elliott-Smith v. Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy et al. (UK)

Preston New Road Action Group v. Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Lancashire County Council, Cuadrilla Bowland Ltd., Cuadrilla Elswick Ltd. (UK)

R v Roberts (UK)

Heathrow Expansion - Supreme Court Judgment (UK)

DUH v. Stralsund Mining Authority (Germany)