Climate Litigation Strategies

The damage that humans are doing to the global climate may be one of the gravest injustices of all time. Some people are profiting enormously from damaging the climate, while others are bearing the costs. Many who will suffer the most are contributing almost nothing to the damage. Courts around the world are stepping up to address climate injustice and pushing governments to protect threatened communities and the environment.

Ten years ago, the United States Supreme Court recognized:

“The harms associated with climate change are serious and well recognized.” Massachusetts v. EPA, 549 U.S. 497 (2007)

More recently a Pakistani court urged:

“From Environmental Justice . . . we need to move to Climate Change Justice.” Asghar Leghari v. Federation of Pakistan, W.P. No. 25501/2015, Climate Change Order (4 September 2015)

Courts around the world are considering a growing number of climate cases. Citizens and organizations are turning to judicial systems to protect the rights of those impacted by the changing climate; require governments to take bolder action to stop harmful emissions; urge governments to help communities adapt; evaluate climate impacts before approving projects; ensure governments keep commitments they have made in the international arena; hold corporations accountable, and more.

ELAW provides this brief overview of legal strategies to advance climate justice. We focus on legal arguments that can be supported by judgments from around the world. [Some of the judgments we have compiled are not climate-specific cases, but could be used to build a strong climate case.] We welcome suggestions of other legal strategies or cases to add to this resource.

Lawyers representing communities concerned about the climate will need to be creative because courts have limited experience in developing appropriate remedies for climate impacts. As this important area of environmental and human rights law evolves, ELAW is tracking decisions and new legal strategies that show promise for achieving climate justice.

[Note: For lawyers thinking about potential climate cases for the first time, we have a brief primer to help orient you and to some of the basic concepts.]
 

Introduction

The damage that humans are doing to the global climate may be one of the gravest injustices of all time. Some people are profiting enormously from damaging the climate, while others are bearing the costs. Many who will suffer the most are contributing almost nothing to the damage. Courts around the world are stepping up to address climate injustice and pushing governments to protect threatened communities and the environment.

Ten years ago, the United States Supreme Court recognized:

“The harms associated with climate change are serious and well recognized.”

Massachusetts v. EPA, 549 U.S. 497 (2007)

More recently a Pakistani court urged:

“From Environmental Justice . . . we need to move to Climate Change Justice.”

Asghar Leghari v. Federation of Pakistan, W.P. No. 25501/2015, Climate Change Order (4 September 2015)

Courts around the world are considering a growing number of climate cases. Citizens and organizations are turning to judicial systems to protect the rights of those impacted by the changing climate; require governments to take bolder action to stop harmful emissions; urge governments to help communities adapt; evaluate climate impacts before approving projects; ensure governments keep commitments they have made in the international arena; hold corporations accountable, and more.

ELAW provides this brief overview of legal strategies to advance climate justice. We focus on legal arguments that can be supported by judgments from around the world. [Some of the judgments we have compiled are not climate-specific cases, but could be used to build a strong climate case.] We welcome suggestions of other legal strategies or cases to add to this resource.

Lawyers representing communities concerned about the climate will need to be creative because courts have limited experience in developing appropriate remedies for climate impacts. As this important area of environmental and human rights law evolves, ELAW is tracking decisions and new legal strategies that show promise for achieving climate justice.

[Note: For lawyers thinking about potential climate cases for the first time, we have a brief primer to help orient you to some of the basic concepts.]

 
 
Mitigation cases

Cases seeking to mitigate climate impacts have challenged specific regulations, projects or activities, as well as seeking orders to require governments to take bolder actions to reduce emissions.

In Urgenda Foundation v. The State of the Netherlands, the Hague District Court found that the Netherlands must do more to avert the imminent danger posed by climate change in view of its duty of care to protect and improve the living environment. C/09/456689/HA ZA 13-1396 (24 June 2015) [this case is currently on appeal]. The Court found a sufficient causal link “can be assumed to exist” between Dutch emissions, global climate change, and the effects. The Court determined the Dutch government must reduce CO2 emissions by a minimum of 25% (compared to 1990) by 2020 to fulfill its obligation to protect and improve the living environment against the imminent danger caused by climate change.

 
 
Adaptation cases
Similarly, cases seeking adaptation measures could be filed against governments or private entities that are responsible for climate impacts or have a duty to protect people from those impacts. Courts are beginning to recognize governments may have a duty to protect citizens from climate impacts and help build resiliency.

A farmer in Pakistan filed a public interest litigation alleging the government’s inaction and delay in implementing the National Climate Change Policy and addressing vulnerabilities associated with climate change violates the fundamental constitutional rights to life and dignity. Asghar Leghari v. Federation of Pakistan (W. P. No. 25501/2015). The Green Bench declared:
 

Climate Change is a defining challenge of our time and has led to dramatic alterations in our planet’s climate system. For Pakistan, these climatic variations have primarily resulted in heavy floods and droughts, raising serious concerns regarding water and food security. On a legal and constitutional plane this is clarion call for the protection of fundamental rights of the citizens of Pakistan, in particular, the vulnerable and weak segments of the society who are unable to approach this Court.

Id., Order of 4 September 2015, at Para. 6.

The Green Bench invoked the right to life and the right to dignity protected by the Constitution of Pakistan and international principles, including intergenerational equity and the precautionary principle, to call for a “move to Climate Change Justice.” Para. 7.

Finding that federal and provincial officials had done little to implement adaptation measures to cope with changing climatic patterns, which threaten food, water, and energy security, the Green Bench directed responsible ministries and departments to: appoint a focal person on climate change to appear before the Green Bench, and prepare a list of adaption measures to be completed by the end of 2015. The Green Bench also established a Climate Change Commission to help the Court monitor progress and achieve compliance with guidelines. See Para. 8.

In a second order, issued 14 September 2015, the Green Bench recognized “[f]or Pakistan, climate change is no longer a distant threat-we are already feeling and experiencing its impacts across the country and the region. The country experienced devastating floods during the last three years. These changes come with far reaching consequences and real economic costs.” Para. 3. For that reason, the Green Bench explained, it is important to implement the recommendations in Pakistan’s National Climate Change Policy “to ensure that climate change is mainstreamed in economically and socially vulnerable sectors of the economy and to steer Pakistan towards climate resilient development.” Para. 9

The Green Bench listed each official appointed as a “focal person” on climate change and the members of the Climate Change Commission. The Green Bench retained jurisdiction (continuing mandamus) to hear reports from representatives concerning their progress.

 
 
 
Damage
Several cases have been filed seeking damages from entities responsible for climate change, but these cases are still working their way through the courts, so we don’t have any helpful decisions to share at this point.

ELAW has a report describing laws and jurisprudence in a few countries that could be used to bring strong cases.

 
 
Climate Impact Assessments
Environmental impact assessment (EIA) is one of the most commonly used tools to inform decisionmakers and the public about the anticipated environmental, social, and economic impacts of a proposed development or activity. Few EIA laws specifically require climate change considerations to be included in impact assessments. For this reason, decisionmakers are apt to avoid any rigorous analysis of the impact of a proposed project on the climate or whether a project is viable in the face of a changing climate. Courts around the world, however, are recognizing that climate change cannot be ignored during the EIA process.
 
  • United States

U.S. regulations implementing the National Environmental Policy Act require environmental impact statements (EISs) to include a discussion of the direct, indirect, and cumulative effects of a proposed project. 40 C.F.R. §§ 1502.16 and 1508.25. Although the regulations do not specifically require analysis of climate impacts, some courts have found that climate impacts should be considered as indirect and cumulative impacts of proposed projects. For example, in Border Power Plant Working Group v. Department of Energy, the plaintiffs challenged the environmental assessment (EA) prepared for required permits and rights-of-way to build electricity transmission lines. 260 F. Supp. 2d 997, 1006 (S.D. Cal. 2003). A federal district court found the EA inadequate in its analysis of the environmental impacts of the proposed electricity transmission lines because it failed to address the significance of increased GHG emissions generated by power plants providing electricity that would be carried over the lines. Id. at 1028-1029. (Subsequently, the Department of Energy prepared an EIS, which was found to be adequate in Border Power Plant Working Group v. Department of Energy, 467 F. Supp. 2d 1040, 1070 (S.D. Cal. 2006)).
 

  • Australia

In 2006, the Australian New South Wales Land and Environment Court declared that the impact of burning coal at a power plant should be studied as an indirect impact of coal mining. In Gray v. The Minister for Planning [2006] NSWLEC 720, petitioner Peter Gray challenged a decision by the Director-General of the Department of Planning that the EIA prepared by the proponent of the proposed Anvil Mine was adequate. Gray asserted among other things that the EIA should have considered the impact to the climate of burning the mined coal at a coal-fired power plant.

The Court explained:

Climate change/global warming is widely recognised as a significant environmental impact to which there are many contributors worldwide . . . . The fact there are many contributors globally does not mean the contribution from a single large source . . . should be ignored in the environmental assessment process. . . .

* * *

I consider there is a sufficiently proximate link between the mining of a very substantial reserve of thermal coal in NSW, the only purpose of which is for use as fuel in power stations, and the emission of GHG which contribute to climate change/global warming, which is impacting now and likely to continue to do so on the Australian and consequently NSW environment, to require assessment of that GHG contribution of the coal when burnt in an environmental assessment[.]

* * *

While the Court has a limited role in judicial review proceedings in that it is not to intrude on the merits of the administrative decision under challenge . . . it is apparent that there is a failure to take the principle of intergenerational equity into account by a requirement for a detailed GHG assessment in the [environmental assessment] if the major component of GHG which results from the use of the coal . . . is not required to be assessed. That is a failure of a legal requirement to take into account the principle of intergenerational equity.

* * *

Environmental assessment is intended to enable decision makers to be properly informed about the future environmental consequences of the project before them. The environmental assessment is a prediction of what the impacts might be given that the project is yet to be built. It is not appropriate to limit the scope of the environmental assessment on the basis that GHG emissions may or may not be subject to regulation in the future whether in NSW or overseas. The fact that it is difficult to quantify an impact with precision does not mean it should not be done.

Id. at paras. 98, 100, 126 and 138.
 

  • South Africa

In, Earthlife Africa Johannesburg v. Minister of Environmental Affairs and others, Case no. 65662/16 (2017), Earthlife Africa Johannesburg sought judicial review of a decision by the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) granting an environmental authorization for a coal-fired power plant and a decision by the Minister of Environmental Affairs not to withdraw the authorization as part of an appeal of the authorization.

The DEA granted the application for environmental authorization even though the underlying environmental impact assessment report (EIR) did not address the proposed power plant’s direct impact on the climate, how it will aggravate climate impacts that will be felt in the region such as water scarcity, or the project’s resiliency to climate change.

Rejecting the argument that the law does not specifically require a climate impact assessment, the Court said:
 

The absence of express provision in the statute requiring a climate change impact assessment does not entail that there is no legal duty to consider climate change as a relevant consideration . . . . [T]he climate change impacts are undoubtedly a relevant consideration as contemplated [in the National Environmental Management Act][.]

Id. at para 87.

The Court also dismissed the argument that a climate impact assessment cannot be required because no explicit guidelines exist for preparing one. The Court explained that “an environmental impact assessment is inherently open-ended and context specific. The scoping process that precedes an environmental impact assessment provides opportunity for delineating the exercise and guidance on the nature of the climate change impacts that must be assessed and considered.” Id. at para. 89.

The Court referred both to South Africa’s Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) under the Paris Agreement and South Africa’s relevant legislation to determine that “climate change impacts of coal-fired power stations are relevant factors that must be considered before granting environmental authorisation.” Id. at para. 91.
 

  • What should a climate impact assessment look like?

In 2012, the International Association for Impact Assessment (IAIA) published a set of international best practice principles for climate change and environmental impact assessment. Climate Change in Impact Assessment: International Best Practice Principles, Special Publication Series No. 8. (April 2012) The IAIA best practice principles state that an impact assessment should explicitly address whether a proposal will, directly or indirectly, increase or decrease GHG emissions. Id., p. 2.

Courts are beginning to weigh in on the adequacy of climate impact assessments, as well.

In the South African case described above, the Court found that the DEA issued its decision granting an environmental authorization for a coal-fired power plant based only on “scant climate change information consisting of [a] single paragraph in the EIR, which . . . was wholly insufficient.” Earthlife Africa Johannesburg v. Minister of Environmental Affairs and others, Case no. 65662/16 (2017) at para. 94.

A U.S. court took issue with an environmental impact statement (EIS) that discounted the significance of greenhouse gas emissions associated with a proposed coal mining project on the basis that if the coal was not mined in the particular project, the same amount would simply be mined somewhere else and used for electricity production. Declaring that this “perfect substitution” assumption was irrational and underestimated the impact of proposed coal mining on climate change , the court directed the EIS to be revised.

In another case, environmental organizations challenged a decision by the Office of Surface Mining to allow the expansion of a mine in Montana. Montana Environmental Information Center v. U.S. Office of Surface Mining, Civ. No. 15-106-M-DWM (D. Mont. 2017) It was estimated that the expansion would open access to more than 132 million tons of coal under government- and privately-owned land. A majority (95%) of the coal produced at the mine is shipped overseas to Korea, Japan, and the Netherlands. The environmental organizations alleged, among other things, that the project's environmental assessment (EA) was deficient because OSM failed to take a "hard look" at the indirect and cumulative effects of coal transportation, coal exports, and coal combustion related to the project, and ignored foreseeable greenhouse gas emissions.

With regard to the indirect and cumulative impacts of coal transportation, the district court agreed with the environmental organizations that the OSM unreasonably limited the scope of its analysis. The court rejected OSM’s claim that evaluating the environmental impacts of coal transportation would be “speculative” given the uncertainty about future transportation routes and combustion locations. The court noted that there are limited rail routes for coal transportation to export terminals outside of Montana and the EA contained estimates of where the coal would be shipped; therefore, “a degree of reasonable foreseeability exists” for OSM to consider indirect and cumulative effects of coal transportation. Id., pp. 28-32. The court also rejected OSM’s claim that there were no reliable methods to assess the social and environmental impacts of coal trains. Id., p. 32.

Although the EA estimated the quantity of greenhouse gas emissions that would occur from coal combustion, the environmental organizations argued that OSM neglected to assess the indirect and cumulative impacts of these emissions in the EA for the proposed mine expansion, even though the agency had a cost-benefit tool available for this purpose.

The district court held that although cost-benefit analysis is not required in environmental assessments, the OSM improperly emphasized the economic benefits of coal production while completely excluding any discussion of the costs of greenhouse gas emissions. The court stated: “[T]he Mining Plan EA concluded not that the specific effects of greenhouse gas emissions from the expansion would be too uncertain to predict, but that there would in fact be no effects from those emissions, because other coal would be burned in its stead. This conclusion is illogical, and places the Enforcement Office's thumb on the scale by inflating the benefits of the action while minimizing its impacts.” Id., p. 46.

The district court blocked further coal mining within the proposed expansion areas. Id., p. 64.

“The absence of express provision in the statute requiring a climate change impact assessment does not entail that there is no legal duty to consider climate change as a relevant consideration . . . . [T]he climate change impacts are undoubtedly a relevant consideration[.]” Earthlife Africa Johannesburg v. Minister of Environmental Affairs and others, Case no. 65662/16 (2017)
“A climate change impact assessment is necessary and relevant to ensuring that the proposed coal-fired power station fits South Africa’s peak, plateau and decline trajectory as outlined in the NDC[.]” Earthlife Africa Johannesburg v. Minister of Environmental Affairs and others, Case no. 65662/16 (2017) at para. 90.
The “BLM’s assumption that there was no real world difference between issuing [the leases] and declining to issue them because third party sources of coal would perfectly substitute for any volume lost on the open market should the BLM decline to issue the leases was arbitrary and capricious.” WildEarth Guardians v. U.S. Bureau of Land Management, No. 15-8109 (10th Cir. September 15, 2017).
UNFCCC and the Paris Agreement
At least one court has found that commitments made under the international climate regime create a framework under which governments should make decisions. In a case brought by an environmental organization and Dutch citizens, the Hague District Court in the Netherlands reviewed that country’s responsibilities under the UNFCCC legal regime and recognized that these international commitments create “the framework for and the manner in which the State exercises its powers” to protect citizens against the imminent danger caused by climate change. Urgenda Foundation v. The State of the Netherlands, C/09/456689/HA ZA 13-1396 (24 June 2015) (Para.4.63) [The decision is on appeal] Similarly, a South African court has determined the UNFCCC requires state parties to take climate impacts into account and that climate impact assessments are required to ensure the country meets the commitments it made under the Paris Agreement.
“Article 4(1)(f) of the UN Framework Convention imposes an obligation on all states parties to take climate change considerations into account in their relevant environmental policies and actions, and to employ appropriate methods to minimise adverse effects on public health and on the environment.” Earthlife Africa Johannesburg v. Minister of Environmental Affairs and others, Case no. 65662/16 (2017) at para. 83.
The Gauteng Division of the High Court of South Africa, sitting in Pretoria, determined “[a] climate change impact assessment is necessary and relevant to ensuring that the proposed coal-fired power station fits South Africa’s peak, plateau and decline trajectory as outlined in the [Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC)][.]” Earthlife Africa Johannesburg v. Minister of Environmental Affairs and others, Case no. 65662/16 (2017) at para. 90.
 
Causation and countering de minimus claims
The Hague District Court found a sufficient causal link “can be assumed to exist” between Dutch emissions, global climate change, and the effects. Urgenda Foundation v. The State of the Netherlands, C/09/456689/HA ZA 13-1396 (24 June 2015) (Hague District Court) at para. 4.90 [This case is on appeal]. Other courts have found links between coal mining and climate change and stated that a single coal-fired power plants will emit substantial GHGs.
“I consider there is a sufficiently proximate link between the mining of a very substantial reserve of thermal coal in NSW, the only purpose of which is for use as fuel in power stations, and the emission of GHG which contribute to climate change/global warming.” Gray v The Minister for Planning and Ors [2006] NSWLEC 720, at para 100.
“[P]ermission has been granted to build a coal-fired power station which will emit substantial GHGs in an ecologically vulnerable area for 40 years[.]” Earthlife Africa Johannesburg v. Minister of Environmental Affairs and others, Case no. 65662/16 (2017) at para. 119.
 
Science
Several courts have pronounced that climate change is currently impacting people, described relevant impacts of climate change, and accepted scientific assessments including those published by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). As other courts evaluate scientific data, we will add other reports or testimony that are referred to in judgments.
“There is a growing consensus that climate change is the greatest threat that the mankind is facing in modern times[.]” Asghar Leghari v. Federation of Pakistan, (W.P. No. 25501/2015) (September 4, 2015 order, para. 8).
The Green Bench described unprecedented floods, monsoons and droughts and declared “[c]limate change is no longer a myth or something that we can leave for the future generations to deal with. It has become a reality and can no longer be avoided.” Asghar Leghari v. Federation of Pakistan, (W.P. No. 25501/2015) (September 4, 2015 order, para. 5).
“The IPCC is the leading international body for the assessment of climate change. It was established by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Meteorolgical Organization (WMO) in 1988 to provide the world with a clear scientific view on the current state of knowledge in climate change and its potential environmental and socio-economic impacts. Therefore, tis assessment is one of the most credible estimates on the impact of climate change.” Asghar Leghari v. Federation of Pakistan, (W.P. No. 25501/2015) (September 4, 2015 order, para. 6).
 
Precautionary Principle
Courts have found that the precautionary principle should be applied to protect the right to a healthy environment, which could be asserted in a climate case. For example, in 2013, in a case considering the potential impact of trial crops of genetically-modified eggplant, the Philippines Court of Appeals recognized there is no scientific certainty and invoked the precautionary principle to safeguard Filipinos’ constitutional right to a balanced and healthful ecology from the threat posed by approved field trials of the genetically-modified crops. In a case addressing impacts of climate change in Pakistan, the Lahore High Court Green Bench concluded that fundamental rights interpreted in conjunction with constitutional principles of democracy and justice incorporate the precautionary principle.
“This is where the precautionary principle sets in which states that, when human activities may lead to threats of serious and irreversible damage to the environment that is scientifically plausible but uncertain, action shall be taken to avoid or diminish that threat.” Greenpeace Southeast Asia (Philippines) v. Environmental Management Bureau of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Court of Appeals (Manila) (Special 13th Div), CA-G.R. SP No. 00013 (17 May 2013) at pg. 20 (omitting a footnote the Rules of Procedure for Environmental Cases).
“Fundamental rights, like the right to life (article 9) which includes the right to a healthy and clean environment and right to human dignity (article 14) read with constitutional principles of democracy, equality, social, economic and political justice include within their ambit and commitment, the international environmental principles of sustainable development, precautionary principle, environmental impact assessment, inter and intra-generational equity and public trust doctrine.” Asghar Leghari v. Federation of Pakistan, (W.P. No. 25501/2015) (September 4, 2015 order, para. 7).
 
Constitutional Cases
Courts are recognizing that climate change is impacting people’s fundamental rights.
 
  • Right to Life

Courts in many countries have determined the right to life inherently incorporates the right to live in a healthy environment. Courts in India, Bangladesh, and others have specifically mentioned that polluting the atmosphere should be regarded as violating the right to life.

In 2015, the Lahore High Court Green Bench invoked constitutional rights, including the right to life, to address climate change in Pakistan. In Ashgar Leghari v. Federation of Pakistan, W.P. No. 25501/2015, a farmer alleged that the government of Pakistan’s inaction and delay in implementing the National Climate Change Policy and addressing vulnerabilities associated with climate change violates fundamental constitutional rights to life and dignity.

In its first order, issued in September 2015, the Green Bench declared:

Climate Change is a defining challenge of our time and has led to dramatic alterations in our planet’s climate system. . . . On a legal and constitutional plane this is clarion call for the protection of fundamental rights of the citizens of Pakistan, in particular, the vulnerable and weak segments of the society who are unable to approach this Court.

Fundamental rights, like the right to life (article 9) which includes the right to a healthy and clean environment and right to human dignity (article 14) read with constitutional principles of democracy, equality, social, economic and political justice include within their ambit and commitment, the international environmental principles of sustainable development, precautionary principle, environmental impact assessment, inter and intra-generational equity and public trust doctrine. Environment and its protection has taken a center stage in the scheme of our constitutional rights. It appears that we have to move on. The existing environmental jurisprudence has to be fashioned to meet the needs of something more urgent and overpowering i.e., Climate Change. From Environmental Justice, which was largely localized and limited to our own ecosystems and biodiversity, we need to move to Climate Change Justice. Fundamental rights lay at the foundation of these two overlapping justice systems. Right to life, right to human dignity, right to property and right to information under articles 9, 14, 23 and 19A of the Constitution read with the constitutional values of political, economic and social justice provide the necessary judicial toolkit to address and monitor the Government’s response to climate change.

 

Ashgar Leghari, at paras. 6-7.

Recognizing the serious threat that climate change poses to food, water, and energy security, the Green Bench directed government ministries and departments to identify and begin implementing climate change adaptation measures for the protection of Pakistani citizens. The Green Bench also established a Climate Change Commission to help the Court monitor progress and achieve compliance with guidelines. Ashgar Leghari, at para. 8. The Green Bench retained jurisdiction to hear reports from representatives concerning their progress.

  • Right to a Healthy Environment

Courts have also interpreted the right to a healthy environment to include protections that are important in the context of climate change.

Article 24 of the Constitution of South Africa declares:

Everyone has the right –

(a) to an environment that is not harmful to their health or well-being; and

(b) to have the environment protected, for the benefit of present and future generations, through reasonable legislative and other measures that –

(i) prevent pollution and ecological degradation;
(ii) promote conservation; and
(iii) secure ecologically sustainable development and use of natural resources while promoting justifiable economic and social development.

 

The Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996 (Art. 24).

Interpreting this Constitutional provision, the Gauteng Division of the High Court declared:

Section 24 recognises the interrelationship between the environment and development. Environmental considerations are balanced with socio-economic considerations through the ideal of sustainable development. . . . Climate change poses a substantial risk to sustainable development in South Africa. The effects of climate change, in the form of rising temperatures, greater water scarcity, and the increasing frequency of natural disasters pose substantial risks. Sustainable development is at the same time integrally linked with the principle of intergenerational justice requiring the state to take reasonable measures protect the environment 'for the benefit of present and future generations' and hence adequate consideration of climate change. Short-term needs must be evaluated and weighed against long-term consequences.

Earthlife Africa Johannesburg v. Minister of Environmental Affairs and others, Case no. 65662/16 (2017), the Gauteng Division of the High Court, para. 82 (internal citation omitted).

“I have no doubt that the right to a climate system capable of sustaining human life is fundamental to a free and ordered society.” Juliana v. the U.S., Case No. 6:15-cv- 01517-TC, Opinion and Order (10 November 2016).
“Examining the matter from the . . . constitutional point of view, it would be reasonable to hold that the enjoyment of life and its attainment and fulfilment guaranteed by . . . the Constitution embraces the protection and preservation of nature's gifts without [which] life cannot be enjoyed.” T. Damodhar Rao v. Municipal Corp. of Hyderabad, 1987 A.I.R (AP) 171, para. 24.
“The slow poisoning by the polluted atmosphere caused by environmental pollution and spoilation should . . . be regarded as amounting to violation of [the Constitutional right to life].” T. Damodhar Rao v. Municipal Corp. of Hyderabad, 1987 A.I.R (AP) 171,
The right to life “encompasses within its ambit, the protection and preservation of the environment, ecological balance free from pollution of air and water, and sanitation without which life can hardly be enjoyed. Any act or omission contrary thereto will be violative of the said right to life.” Mohiuddin Farooque v. Bangladesh, WP 998 of 1994, CA 24 of 1995