Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

EYE ON AFRICA

Global Competitiveness report releases 2018 Africa performance

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Brexit: 'The end isn't nigh'

Read more

THE DEBATE

Where do you draw the line? Brexit deadline summit stumbles over Irish border

Read more

ACCESS ASIA

Uighurs and Kazakhs held in re-education camps in China

Read more

MIDDLE EAST MATTERS

Salim Saab: Showcasing the women of the Arab art world

Read more

FOCUS

Irish border remains stumbling block in Brexit talks

Read more

ENCORE!

Film show: Capernaum - powerful social drama or poverty porn?

Read more

IN THE PRESS

Nature under threat: Arresting pictures from Wildlife Photography Awards

Read more

PERSPECTIVE

Protecting heritage land against mining companies

Read more

DOWN TO EARTH

We meet the people behind fascinating environmental, health and technological innovations in a bid for sustainable solutions to our changing world. Saturday at 7.20 pm. Or you can catch it online from Friday.

Latest update : 2018-04-06

Can the courtroom save the planet?

The planet may have found its newest and perhaps greatest ally: the law. In the past three years, the number of climate-related lawsuits across the world has tripled. In 2017, there were 900 cases in 24 countries, two thirds of them in the United States.

The number one target of these lawsuits is big businesses, particularly the fossil fuel industry. Saúl Luciano Lliuya, a Peruvian farmer, is suing Europe’s biggest polluter, German energy giant RWE, for causing a glacier to melt near his home. In the US, cities and counties are leading the battle. New York City is the latest to join the fight, suing the world’s five largest oil companies. The idea is to hold them responsible for present and future damage to the city from climate change, demanding financial compensation for their loss.

But it’s not just a question of money. A green revolution is underway. Citizens are suing their own leaders in order to get them to implement real climate policy. The Urgenda case in the Netherlands has become a symbol of a growing movement. In 2015, 900 Dutch citizens got their government sentenced by a District Court in The Hague. According to the verdict, the Dutch government isn't doing enough to protect its citizens from severe but avoidable harm and must cut its greenhouse gas emissions by at least 25% by 2020.

By Florence VILLEMINOT , Marina BERTSCH , Valérie DEKIMPE

Archives

2018-10-12 DOWN TO EARTH

Can citizen action stop climate change?

When it comes to the environment, a growing number of citizens are taking matters into their own hands. Whether it's becoming a vegetarian, cycling to work or buying groceries in...

Read more

2018-09-28 DOWN TO EARTH

Balkan dam boom: Saving the Blue Heart of Europe

Nearly 3,000 hydropower projects are planned across the Balkan Peninsula, threatening some of Europe’s most pristine ecosystems. This region is nicknamed the "Blue Heart of...

Read more

2018-09-14 DOWN TO EARTH

Climate change: A bitter taste for Bordeaux wine

As world temperatures soar, Bordeaux wine could be in danger, threatening more than 14,000 winegrowers and the production of 600 million litres of the world-famous French wine.

Read more

2018-08-31 DOWN TO EARTH

Cargo pollution: Setting sail for greener seas

Cargo shipping drives global trade - but at a steep environmental cost, generating three percent of global CO2 emissions. It may not seem like a lot, but if shipping were a...

Read more

2018-07-13 DOWN TO EARTH

Portugal: Eucalyptus trees under fire

Join us on Down To Earth as we return to the scene of Portugal's deadliest wildfires. Last year, 115 people were killed and 500,000 hectares of land scorched. The poor emergency...

Read more