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The First Czech Climate Judgment: A Novel Perspective on the State’s Duty to Mitigate and on the Right to a Favourable Environment

In: Climate Law
Authors:
Hana MüllerováCentre for Climate Law and Sustainability Studies, Institute of State and Law, Czech Academy of Sciences, Prague, Czech Republic, Corresponding Author hana.mullerova@ilaw.cas.cz

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Alexander AčGlobal Change Research Institute, Czech Academy of Sciences (CzechGlobe), Brno, Czech Republic, ac.a@czechglobe.cz

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Abstract

In June 2022, a Czech climate lawsuit, Klimatická žaloba ČR, z. s. and Others v. Government of the Czech Republic and Others was decided by a first-instance court. The litigation was led against the Czech state for insufficient climate mitigation and adaptation effort. The Municipal Court in Prague largely upheld the plaintiffs’ claim that the Czech mitigation measures adopted to date were contrary to the Paris Agreement; and it found that the country must substantially strengthen its reduction rate of greenhouse gas emissions. This result—the first of its kind in the Czech Republic—was a surprise to many in a country whose courts have been conservative in environmental matters. The judgment fits in well with current trends in climate litigation and follows the arguments of landmark climate cases such as Urgenda. This article provides a summary of the lawsuit and analyses two of the most important parts of the judgment: the court’s reasoning on the state’s obligation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and its ‘climatic’ interpretation of the fundamental right to a favourable environment, as guaranteed by the Czech Constitution.

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