Human Rights, Environmental Impact Assessments, Air pollution

The Marangopoulos Foundation for Human Rights (MFHR) alleged that the Greek government was not in compliance with Greek, European, and international law owing to the nature of its oversight (and partial ownership of) several lignite coal mines and coal-fired power plants. Among the legal authorities cited, perhaps most central to MFHR’s claims was Article 11 of the European Social Charter of 1961; that article protects citizens’ right to a clean environment by requiring, among other things, restrictions on pollutants known to compromise human health. MFHR’s allegations ranged from the government’s failure to prepare adequate environmental impact assessments, to its lax enforcement of pollution control measures, to its failure to achieve reductions in the emission of conventional pollutants and greenhouse gases, to its lack of labour protections. After considering the Greek government’s rebuttals, e.g., that it had begun tightening its environmental enforcement regime vis-à-vis the coal mines and power plants at issue, the Committee concluded that Greece had indeed violated several articles 2, 3, and 11 of the European Social Charter.

(Source: Provided by the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law and Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment,