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Climate crisis

Welcome to the IBA Climate Crisis: in focus, where you will find details of events, reports and relevant information about the role of lawyers in tackling the climate crisis.

There is a pressing need to upskill legal professionals and increase climate capacity and climate literacy in domestic and international settings. To quote UN Secretary-General António Guterres at the launch of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's Sixth Assessment Report: 'Our world needs climate action on all fronts: everything, everywhere, all at once.'

In 2014 the IBA published a report titled Achieving Justice and Human Rights in an Era of Climate Disruption. In 2020, the Model Statute for Proceedings Challenging Government Failure to Act on Climate Change was released. In May 2020 the IBA published the Climate Crisis Statement, stating that 'the legal profession must be prepared to play a leading role in maintaining and strengthening the rule of law and supporting responsible, enlightened governance in an era marked by a climate crisis'. This Statement included guidance for law associations globally and demonstrates a commitment to collaborate actively with others for the greatest impact in addressing the climate crisis, including clients, regulators, bar associations, other professional bodies and legal networks focused on ameliorating the climate crisis.

In 2021 the IBA was admitted by the Conference of the Parties as an observer organisation to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) process. Since then, the IBA jointly held two events at COP27, collectively engaged in the 2022 Climate Law and Governance Day and held a side session at the Bonn Climate Change Conference in June 2023. These events provided valuable networking opportunities for legal practitioners, law associations, law firms, and academic institutions to exchange information, best practices, and ideas on key issues facing the legal profession and the planet. This work was carried out alongside the American Bar Association, the Brazilian Bar Association and the Law Society of England and Wales, reflecting the commitment to collaboration made under the Climate Crisis Statement.

Moving forward, the IBA Legal Policy & Research Unit have prepared three lines of work to better prepare for UNFCCC engagement and align the legal profession in the climate space, including legal guidance and outreach, professional legal training and thematic webinars.

If you would like to learn more about the initiatives outlined above, please connect with us.

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Climate Registry

The IBA Climate Registry provides a platform for bar associations, law societies and similar bodies around the world to share the steps they are taking to address climate change and facilitate the transition to net zero.

Model Statute

The Model Statute for Proceedings Challenging Government Failure to Act on Climate Change highlights the role of litigation in setting requirements for governments to protect their citizens and communities from climate impacts

Task Force report

The IBA Presidential Task Force on Climate Change Justice and Human Rights identifies gaps in existing institutional arrangements, in this report, 'Achieving Justice and Human Rights in an Era of Climate Change Disruption'

The IBA @COP28

Watch our discussion on the role of lawyers in tackling the climate crisis. Learn about legal capacity building, regulatory steps, and climate-conscious lawyering.

Digital Content

Legal solutions for a net zero future

Watch the launch of the International Bar Association's Climate Registry, a peer-to-peer platform facilitating local bar associations to showcase their proactive responses to the climate crisis.

IBA @ COP28: Everything everywhere all at once: Opening Speaker

Watch our discussion on the role of lawyers in tackling the climate crisis explores legal capacity building, regulatory steps, and the importance of climate-conscious lawyering.

IBA @ COP28: Everything everywhere all at once: Session one

Watch our discussion on the role of lawyers in tackling the climate crisis explores legal capacity building, regulatory steps, and the importance of climate-conscious lawyering.

Reports

All reports  
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Legal Aspects of Climate Change Adaptation

While progress on climate change depends on stability in other domains in order to implement the Paris Agreement of 2015, climate change itself is a destabilising force. The Climate Change Adaptation Report looks closely at three areas key to heading off the likelihood of accelerating instability in the near future: population displacement, food security and access to technology. This report places these issues within the larger context of the Paris Accord and the recent advances in research and policy on the human rights implications of climate change.

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Model Statute for Proceedings Challenging Government Failure to Act on Climate Change

Building on recent successes and judicial reasoning, the Model Statute highlights the role of litigation in setting requirements for governments to protect the public. With the advice of leading experts, it provides detailed rationales, precedents and 23 specific Articles for reforms.