NOT AN EXCLUSIVE SOVEREIGN ISSUE: ADVISORY OPINION FROM THE INTERNATIONAL COURT OF JUSTICE FOR GLOBAL WARMING
Research Assistant to Justice M. Sundar, Judge, Madras High Court
There is overwhelming scientific evidence that excessive anthropogenic Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emission is causing rise in global surface temperature; global warming or climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) through its Fourth Assessment Report entitled Climate Change 2007: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability concluded that the anthropogenic climate change will have an adverse effect on human security and ecology balance. In 2002 Tuvalu threatened to sue USA in the International Court of Justice (ICJ) for causing global warming. Recently Palau expressed its desire to take the issue of international state responsibility towards global warming to the ICJ under its advisory jurisdiction. If Tuvalu or Palau succeed; ICJ will be under spotlight and the world will be expecting a robust judgment. In the light of these recent international activities first this article will draw attention to the scientific data from IPCC to establish a link between human activity and global warming and then move towards exploring the principles of international state responsibility, accountability, international treaty obligations and general principles of international law that the ICJ should analyse while exploring this new arena.