Antigua and Barbuda was among a wide-ranging group of countries that appeared before the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea in Hamburg on Wednesday to participate in a climate justice case.
The Commission of Small Island States on Climate Change and International Law seeks an advisory opinion on countries’ legal obligations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
This request comes after the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference, where some countries were disappointed with the lack of action.
Forty countries worldwide are offering their opinions on how the court should rule.
The United States, the world’s largest oil producer, is not participating in the hearings as it has not signed the Law of the Sea Convention.
Countries will appear based on logistics and scheduling concerns, not their legal positions or geographic location.
On Wednesday, Germany, Australia, Saudi Arabia, Argentina, and Bangladesh spoke, with landlocked Bolivia unable to attend at the last minute.
In total, 31 countries have submitted written statements, and 33 will make oral statements. Some countries have opted for both.
Altogether, 40 different countries, ranging from China to France to Rwanda are participating.
The climate change request is only the third request for an advisory opinion in the tribunal’s 40-year history.
It is also the first request from a country, as intergovernmental organizations brought the two previous requests.
The court will also consider arguments from nine intergovernmental organizations, from the European Union to the United Nations.
Ten advocacy groups have also sent written arguments that are not part of the case file but can be considered by the judges.
The court will hear from the remaining countries over the next ten days. A ruling is expected sometime next year.