A
Absolute reduction
An absolute reduction refers only to the amount of greenhouse gases that an entity has eliminated in its operations and activities, not accounting for the amount it still produces.
Neubauer; Duarte Agostinho; Milieudefensie; Sacchi; Lliuya
A
Affidavit
An affidavit is “a sworn statement a person makes before a notary or officer of the court outside of the court asserting that certain facts are true to the best of that person’s knowledge.”
Sustaining the Wild Coast v. Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy
A
Administrative Law
Administrative law “refers to the branch of law governing the creation and operation of administrative agencies. [It] encompasses laws and legal principles governing the administration and regulation of government agencies.”
#CancelCoal Case
A
Admissibility
Admissibility refers to a process by which a court or monitoring body determines the eligibility of a complaint for determination on its merits. To be admissible, a complaint needs to fulfill certain prerequisites, like the exhaustion of local remedies.
Daniel Billy v. Australia
C
Carbon budget
A carbon budget refers to the finite quantity of carbon dioxide (CO2) that can be emitted before reaching a limit on the increase in average temperature (e.g., 1.5 degrees Celsius or well below 2 degrees Celsius). A carbon budget can be global, in which case it would provide the finite quantity of carbon dioxide that can be emitted globally before reaching a limit on temperature increases. A carbon budget can also be national, in which case it would provide the finite quantity of carbon dioxide that can be emitted nationally before reaching the limit on the state’s permitted CO2 emissions. Generally, national carbon budgets are derived by reference to a global carbon budget – meaning that a national carbon budget refers to a particular state’s portion of a global carbon budget, based on its population size, historical emissions, and/or some other metric.
Neubauer; Sacchi; Milieudefensie
C
Causal Link
A relationship between an action or inaction and a situation where the action or inaction at least partially causes the situation to arise.
Lliuya
C
Common but differentiated responsibilties
The term “common but differentiated responsibilites” refers to a principle of international environmental law “establishing that all states are responsible for addressing global environmental destruction yet not equally responsible. The principle balances, on the one hand, the need for all states to take responsibility for global environmental problems and, on the other hand, the need to recognize the wide differences in levels of economic development between states. These differences in turn are linked to the states’ contributions to, as well as their abilities to address, these problems.”
Sacchi
C
Convention on the Rights of the Child
The Convention on the Rights of the Child is an international human rights agreement that affirms the rights to which children are entitled and provides the obligations countries must satisfy in order to protect those rights.
Sacchi
C
Committee on the Rights of the Child
The Committee on the Rights of the Child is an international body established by the Convention on the Rights of the Child in order to oversee the implementation of the Convention and compliance with it.
Sacchi
C
Corporate Limited Liability
Corporate Limited Liability refers to a business structure created by statute that corporations can adopt in order to shield owners from personal responsibility for debts or liabilities accrued by the corporation.
Casino
C
Coal-Fired Power
Coal-fired power is electrical power generated through the burning of coal, a type of fossil fuel.
#CancelCoal Case
D
Direct greenhouse gas emissions (GHG Emissions)
Direct greenhouse gas emissions are those that are emitted “from sources that are owned or controlled by the reporting entity.”
Duarte Agostinho; EACOP case
D
Duty of care
A requirement imposed on someone to act reasonably towards someone else, usually due to a special relationship that person has with the second, and avoid causing the other person harm.
Sharma; Fronterra
E
Exhaustion of domestic remedies
The exhaustion of domestic remedies refers to “the general requirement that victims first use the judicial or administrative complaint procedures available under national law before bringing a complaint to the international level.”
Sacchi
F
Fair share of emission reductions
Refers to the quantity of greenhouse gas emission reductions a given country is or should be required to achieve given a particular measure of fairness, including historical responsibility for emissions, per capita share of global emissions, economic capability, and others.
Duarte Agostinho
F
Fossil fuel infrastructure
The basic organizational and physical facilities and structures needed to produce and distribute fossil fuels, which include coal, oil, and gas.
Sharma
F
Fundamental rights
Fundamental rights are usually, though not always, constitutional in nature. A fundamental right is “a right that is considered by a court. . . to be explicitly or implicitly expressed in a constitution,” thus requiring a high degree of protection.
Neubauer
F
Fossil Fuel Reserve
A fossil fuel reserve is a deposit of oil, coal, or natural gas from which oil, coal, or gas is extracted.
Sustaining the Wild Coast v. Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy
F
Fiduciary Duty
A fiduciary duty is essentially an obligation by one party to act in the best interests of another. It arises when two people are in a special relationship, such as lawyer/client or trustee/beneficiary. The exact nature and extent of the duty or responsibilities owed by a fiduciary will vary depending on the circumstances.
McVeigh v. Retail Employees Superannuation Trust
G
Greenhouse gas emission reduction target
A greenhouse gas emission reduction target provides the amount that greenhouse gases must be reduced in a particular area (usually within the boundaries of a particular state or sub-state) by a particular date.
Neubauer
G
General Duty
General duties refer to obligations to take unspecified measures to achieve general outcomes. For example, states can have a general duty that obliges them to adopt measures – without specifying what kind – to protect the environment and limit the dangers associated with the climate emergency.
Notre Affaire à Tous v. France
I
Increase in the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide
An increase in the percentage of carbon dioxide – a key driver of global warming – in the air.
Sharma
I
Indirect greenhouse gas emissions
Indirect greenhouse gas emissions are those that are emitted as a result of “activities of the reporting entity, but occur at sources owned or controlled by another entity.”
Duarte Agostinho; EACOP case
I
Injunction
Refers to an order issued by a court requiring a party to do something or to refrain from doing something.
Amazon Fund Case; PSB v. Brazil (on Climate Fund)
I
Intergenerational equity
Intergenerational equity is a principle that provides that “every generation holds the Earth in common with members of the present generation and with other generations, past and future. The principle articulates a concept of fairness among generations in the use and conservation of the environment and its natural resources . . . The principle is the foundation of sustainable development. . . It has also been applied to cultural resources and to economic and social problems.”
Neubauer; Sacchi
I
Interim Interdict
“An interim interdict is a temporary order, stopping a person or company or organization from taking certain action or actions.”
Sustaining the Wild Coast v. Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy
J
Jurisdiction
Jurisdiction is defined as the “power, right, or authority to interpret and apply the law.”
"Duarte Agostinho; EACOP case; Sacchi; Lliuya"
N
Negative Obligation
Refers to an obligation that requires an individual or entity to refrain from acting in some way – or, in other words, to not do something. This contrasts with positive obligations, which require that an individual or entity affirmatively act in some way.
Amazon Fund Case
N
Negligence
Negligence refers to the “failure to behave with the level of care that someone of ordinary prudence would have exercised under the same circumstances.”
Sharma; Fronterra
N
Net reduction in greenhouse gas emissions
A net reduction refers to the total reduction of greenhouse gases left after the amount of greenhouse gases produced by an entity in its activities has been subtracted out of the amount of greenhouse gases that the entity has reduced in its activities.
Milieudefensie; Fronterra
O
OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises
The OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises are “recommendations addressed by governments to multinational enterprises operating in or from adhering countries. They provide non-binding principles and standards for responsible business conduct in a global context consistent with applicable laws and internationally recognized standards.”
Milieudefensie
O
Omission
Refers to “something neglected or left undone” or “apathy toward or neglect of duty.”
Amazon Fund Case; PSB v. Brazil (on Climate Fund)
P
Paris temperature goal
The Paris temperature goal refers to the goal that the Paris Agreement establishes to “hold the increase in global average temperature to well below 2˚C above pre-industrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5˚C above pre-industrial levels, recognizing that this would significantly reduce the risks and impacts of climate change” (Article 2(a)).
Neubauer; Duarte Agostinho
P
Positive obligation
This refers to an obligation that requires an individual or entity to act in some way – by engaging in a certain activity, providing a certain outcome, or undertaking particular measures. This contrasts with negative obligations, which require that an individual or entity refrain from acting in some way.
Amazon Fund Case
P
Private Nuisance
“A private nuisance involves the use of one’s property in a manner that causes significant harm to another individual’s use or enjoyment of their private land.” Someone can bring a lawsuit against someone else for private nuisance.
Lliuya
P
Public Nuisance
A public nuisance “generally refers to any conduct that interferes with the rights of the public. The precise definition of public nuisance often varies by state and is embodied in civil and criminal statutes.”
Fronterra
P
Prima Facie
Prima facie means “sufficient to establish a fact or raise a presumption unless disproved or rebutted.”
Sustaining the Wild Coast v. Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy
R
Right to a Healthy Environment
The right to a healthy environment, typically provided by a constitution or international treaty, generally entitles people to live in a clean, safe, and sustainable environment that supports their health and well-being.
Amazon Fund Case; PSB v. Brazil (on Climate Fund)
S
Scope 1, 2, & 3 emissions
“The GHG Protocol Corporate Standard classifies a company’s GHG emissions into three ‘scopes’. Scope 1 emissions are direct emissions from owned or controlled sources. Scope 2 emissions are indirect emissions from the generation of purchased energy. Scope 3 emissions are all indirect emissions (not included in scope 2) that occur in the value chain of the reporting company.”
Milieudefensie
S
Standing
Standing refers to the plaintiff’s “capacity to bring [a law] suit in court.” If a plaintiff doesn’t have standing, a court won’t review its claims. If a plaintiff does have standing, a court will review its claims, assuming that there are no other issues that prevent the court from hearing the case.
Neubauer
S
Supply Chain
A supply chain includes all of the activities, materials, information, organizations, and people required to bring a product from its inception to its delivery to a customer.
Casino
S
Separation of Powers
The separation of powers doctrine is a doctrine of constitutional law under which the three branches of government (executive, legislative, and judicial) have separate spheres of authority.
PSB v. Brazil (on Climate Fund)
S
Specific Duty
Specific duties refer to obligations to take particular steps to achieve certain outcomes. Specific duties can include obligations to reduce GHG emissions, improve energy efficiency, develop renewable energies, and reduce vulnerabilities to climate impacts.
Notre Affaire à Tous v. France
T
Tort law
Tort law refers to the branch of law dealing with civil liability for wrongs committed that result in loss, injury, or harm.
Sharma; Lliuya; Fronterra
T
Trust
A trust is a relationship that involves one party holding property for the benefit of another.
McVeigh v. Retail Employees Superannuation Trust
T
Trustee
Trustees hold and manage the trust property (i.e., the property of another, the beneficiary), and they must act in the interests of beneficiaries. This means, for example, they must act in good faith, show loyalty to beneficiaries, be impartial and even-handed, and keep accurate records and information.
McVeigh v. Retail Employees Superannuation Trust
U
UN Global Compact
The UN Global Compact is a voluntary initiative, calling on “companies to align their strategies and operations with ten universal principles related to human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption, and take actions that advance societal goals and the implementation of the SDGs.”
Milieudefensie
U
UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights
The UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights are “a set of guidelines for States and companies to prevent, address and remedy human rights abuses committed in business operations.”
Milieudefensie
U
Urgent Interim Relief
Urgent interim relief may be granted in cases where a party claims that their right is at risk of being irreversibly harmed before the final award is given.
PSB v. Brazil (on Climate Fund)
U
United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)
The UNFCCC is an international, multilateral treaty, which entered into force in 1994. The ultimate objective of the Convention is to stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations “at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic (human induced) interference with the climate system.”
Daniel Billy v. Australia
U
United Nations Human Rights Committee
The Human Rights Committee is the “body of independent experts that monitors the implementation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights by its States parties.”
Daniel Billy v. Australia
V
Victim
The term ‘victim’ refers to the person who has experienced a rights violation as a result of harm created by another person or entity’s actions or inactions.
Sacchi