Elena Proietti, Researcher at the University Institute for Research in Sustainable Aquaculture and Marine Ecosystems (ECOAQUA), gave the lecture ‘Renewable Energies and Human Rights: A New Future’, in the framework of the “Seminario Internacional de Comarcas Sostenibles 2023 de la Mancomunidad del Sureste de Gran Canaria”.
The Doctor from the Tourism, Land Management and Environment (TOTMA) research group introduced some novelties of her recently published monograph, that seeks to demonstrate the existence of the inherent right to universal access to inexhaustible, clean and renewable energy as an instrumental right for the enjoyment of other already recognized human rights, such as the right to live, familiar and private life, the right to a home and the prohibition of being submitted to torture or inhuman or degrading treatment.
As underlined by Proietti, four years have passed since the historic sentence of the Dutch Supreme Court (December 20, 2019) in the case Urgenda Foundation v. Netherlands. Four years in which the States have continued to demonstrate, save for rare exceptions, that it is not possible to internationally achieve a fast and definitive agreement on climate change containment and mitigation.
An example of this is the disappointing epilogue of the COP26 in Glasgow, where the compromises on the deletion of fossil fuels in the majority of the States got newly delayed by the will of those few countries that need to prioritize economic aspects rather than human and environmental ones.
In her opinion, the European Union (EU), seems to have obtained in this regard more encouraging results, though still insufficient in comparison with the climatic emergency, and sometimes contradictory, if we consider the option of wanting to introduce nuclear energy and the use of natural gas among the legitimately accessible energies to reduce C02 emissions to below 55% by 2030.
During her speech, she explained that the recent United Nations General Assembly Resolution on the recognition of the alleged right to live in a healthy environment, although it formalizes an innovative vision on the part of international institutions, still remains in soft law limbo.
However, thanks to the example set by the Urgenda Foundation, class action lawsuits and climate litigation have begun to spread worldwide (such as, for example, L’affaire de Siècle, Luisa Neubauer et al. and Giudizio Universale) and see Associations, Foundations and Citizen groups as protagonists against the States and their inaction.