After the Supreme Court has ruled that the right to live in a clean environment is not, in and of itself, a legally protected personal interest, new plaintiffs are stepping forward with claims against the Polish state – framed, this time around, in reference to warming of the climate.

“The climate crisis is a fact, and unless and until the government (the suit names six ministries) does something to counteract a climate catastrophe, the costs will continue to grow”, explains Dr Marcin Stoczkiewicz, a lawyer with the ClientEarth foundation which is supporting the claims.

The expectation is that these cases – brought in the localities in which the plaintiffs reside – will result in findings that the plaintiffs’ legally protected personal interests are being compromised. The hoped-for remedy would be an injunction obligating the state (as embodied by the State Treasury) to reduce greenhouse gas emissions at twice the rate now planned, and to pledge itself to climate neutrality by 2043 (the Polish government does not seem to have such plans, at least for the moment). (...)

Maja Frontczak, an attorney with GESSEL lending her expertise to this initiative, explains to “Rz" that this round of statements of claim does take into account the recent Supreme Court judgment, but that that the claims focus not on smog and airborne impurities, but on gas emissions and their impact on the environment (...)

 

The full text of this article is available (in Polish) in Rzeczpospolita. If you are interested in an English-language version or in discussing the issues raised herein with one of our lawyers, please contact: kontakt@gessel.pl.