Jaap Spier will be talking about the Climate Principles for Enterprises. The Principles are based on the expert group’s interpretation of the law as it stands or will likely develop. This interpretation is based on a myriad of legal sources: human rights, environmental, corporate, and liability law, codes of governance and conduct, case law, authoritative reports and other sources of soft law. They align with the almost commonly accepted view that the increase of global temperature must be kept well below 2 C.
Precisely because the Principles are not law (the expert group is not a legislator), time will tell whether they will be accepted by courts, or inspire legislators to translate them into enforceable obligations. The prefaces by eminent experts from various backgrounds, and many endorsements from distinguished experts – among them top judges from around the globe – we hace recieved, strengthen us in the believe that it would be a serious mistake to bet on the idea that climate change is a lawless realm until the legislator has enacted detailed and pertinent legislation. That is not how the law is administered. If the law is unsettled, or only offers open norms, courts have to interpret these norms. That is what they have done over the centuries, keeping pace with the changing demands of society.
The commentary provides general information about the legal basis of the Principles (p. 70-107) and specifically in the commentary to the respective Principles.