Today Peter Barnett, a Senior Lawyer at ClientEarth, spoke to a joint meeting of the Environmental and Law Societies. ClientEarth is an environmental law charity which uses legal means to protect people and the planet, with over 150 staff working across five countries.
Mr Barnett explained how environmental law can be used to protect the natural world, using two examples of international agreements which have made progress towards tackling climate change. The Paris Agreement of 2016, and national laws, such as the Climate Change Act of 2008, compel governments to account for the environment. ClientEarth helps to draft and enforce such laws.
Two particular cases helped the virtual audience to understand the legal ramifications of environmental damage. The first, in the Torres Strait Islands, concerns islanders whose rights under Article 27 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) may have been affected by climate change. The second case, which ClientEarth has already won, was ClientEarth vs Enea, in which the charity successfully proved that the planned construction of a coal-fired power plant in Ostrołęka did not account for the financial risks of such an endeavour.
An opportunity to pose questions to Mr Barnett was available to all participants of the webinar, and led to an interesting discussion on the impact of the USA pulling out of the Paris Agreement, and the different entry routes to practising environmental law.
I would like to personally thank Mr Barnett for his informative and topical talk which underlined the need for lawyers to work creatively and collaboratively to help the environment.
You can find out more about ClientEarth here