ESG #15: Treaties and international tribunals interpreting and applying those treaties can impact how governments behave and how companies invest, bringing about concrete effects in the real world. Today, international courts are being summoned to answer questions about responsibility and liability for climate change impacts under international law. In December 2022, the Commission of Small Island States on Climate Change and International Law asked the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea for an advisory opinion. In March 2023, the UN General Assembly asked the ICJ for an advisory opinion on state responsibilities to mitigate climate change. The decisions of these panels could have far-reaching effects, influencing climate change litigation in regional tribunals and national courts. They will shape and maybe accelerate global initiatives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, to adapt to climate change, and to compensate for losses and damages.
In this newest episode, Milbank partner Viren Mascarenhas speaks with host Allan Marks about what’s at stake in international climate change litigation. They discuss the potential impact of international climate change litigation decisions on economic policies and environmental laws, and explore the complex interrelationships among international courts, multilateral treaties and bilateral investment treaties.
About the Speakers
Viren Mascarenhas is a partner in Milbank’s NY office and a member of the firm’s Litigation & Arbitration Group. He specializes in international arbitration, public international law, and business and human rights. He has nearly two decades of experience acting as counsel in domestic and international arbitration proceedings under the major institutional arbitral rules as well as ad hoc arbitral rules in a broad range of industries, including chemicals, energy (LNG, oil, nuclear, electricity, power, renewables), and mining and metals. He teaches international arbitration at Columbia Law School, is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, sits as arbitrator, and has been recognized for his accomplishments in the field by the major directories, including Chambers and Legal 500.
Podcast host Allan Marks is one of the world's leading project finance lawyers. He advises developers, investors, lenders, and underwriters around the world in the development and financing of complex energy and infrastructure projects, as well as related acquisitions, restructurings and capital markets transactions. Many of his transactions relate to ESG and sustainability, innovative clean technologies, and sophisticated contractual risk allocation. Allan serves as an Adjunct Lecturer at the University of California, Berkeley at the Law School and previously at