Do Canadians have a legally recognized right to a healthy
If so, large scale emissions of greenhouse gases would be
illegal, because they damage the health of the global atmosphere.
Legal recognition of such a right would raise a wide range of
legal and political questions including the possibility of:
lawsuits being filed against large-scale emitters of greenhouse
questions about the government's legal and political
responsibility to protect the public's right to a healthy
the courts interpreting environmental and other legislation in
ways that protect the right to a healthy atmosphere.
Ok, it's a longshot, but exciting to think about.
The parties in the Atmospheric Right Reference, and the order of
appearance, will be:
The Government of British Columbia – The Government of
British Columbia, a party to the reference, will argue that
there is a public right to a healthy atmosphere, but that its
implications are largely political, rather than legal. The
Government of British Columbia will be represented by
@TheRyborg and @canadajon from York University (Osgoode Hall
The Government of Canada – The Canadian government, a
party to the reference, will be taking the position that there
is no legally recognized public right to a healthy global
atmosphere. The Government of Canada will be represented by
@jaymichi and @cjalbinati from Thompson Rivers University Law
The Centre for Indigenous Environmental Resources (CIER)
– CIER – a national, First Nation-directed
environmental non-profit organization – is intervening
in the reference. CIER will provide the Team representing it
with direction as to specific issues it wishes raised in
relation to the Reference. West Coast Environmental Law thanks
CIER for providing that direction and for its involvement in the
Twitter Moot. CIER will be represented by @tankersnothanks and
@orangepipsies of the University of Alberta Law School.
The Canadian Institute of Petroleum Companies (CIPC) –
CIPC, an intervenor in the reference, will argue that there is
no common law right to a health atmosphere. CIPCwill be represented
by @Baaarbora and @Willhorne of Dalhousie University
(Schulich Law School).
The Environmental Coalition – The Environmental
Coalition, a Coalition of a number of prominent environmental
groups, is intervening in the reference to argue that there is
a common law right to a healthy atmosphere, and that recognition of
such a right is an important piece of the legal response to
climate change. The Coalition will be represented by
@adamharris09 and @Gradsen of the University of Ottawa Law
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