Climate change law in Europe: what do new EU climate laws mean for the courts?

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Publication Date March 2023
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Europe is undergoing an unprecedented shift in the scale and ambition of climate policy following the announcement of the European Green Deal and the passage of the European Climate Law. European legislators are working on reforms referred to as the Fit for 55 package, which includes updates to existing regulatory mechanisms such as the European Union Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) and the Effort Sharing Regulation, and revised legislation regarding renewable energy, transport and land use.

It is crucial that stakeholders such as industry, policymakers and legislators, and civil society understand the likely impacts of the new legislation in Europe and beyond. This report presents the changing legislative landscape, putting developments on various individual issues into context and presenting an overview of key trends and themes in EU climate litigation and legislation. Its aim is to help readers develop an understanding of future directions in European climate law and the role the courts may play in shaping Europe’s transition to a low emission society.

Part 1 provides a brief look at the role that climate litigation has played in shaping Europe’s climate legislation to date. Part 2 provides an overview of the ‘Fit for 55’ package and Part 3 considers a broader programme of legal reforms associated with the EU’s climate ambitions, focusing on critical reforms that aim to integrate climate action into the real economy.

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