Do-Hyun Kim et al. v. South Korea
In March 2020, 19 young people filed a lawsuit against the Government of the Republic of Korea claiming it has failed to protect their constitutional rights by failing to address climate change.
The case is currently pending.
Young people from the Korean Youth Climate Action Group filed a complaint in the South Korean Constitutional Court alleging the government of South Korea was failing to protect their constitutional rights. They challenged South Koroa's Framework Act on Low Carbon, Green Growth which sets a target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions 24% from 2017 levels by 2030. The plaintiffs allege that the target is insufficient to protect their rights from the harms caused by climate change.
Their claims center around the constitutional rights to life, to health, to a healthy environment and their rights to equality and non-discrimination as children, drawing on the principle of intergenerational justice.
Relevant Law and Principles
The complaint alleges that Article 42 Section 1 Subparagraph 1 of the Framework Act on Low Carbon, Article 25 Section of the Enforcement Decree of the Framework Act on Low Carbon, the abolition of the “2020 Greenhouse Gas Reduction Target” as set out in Article 25 Section of the Enforcement Decree of the Framework Act on Low Carbon are all unconstitutional and infringe upon the petitioners rights. Those individual rights being the basic rights of human dignity (Article 10 of the Constitution), the equal protection right (Article 11 of the Constitution), the right to live a humanly life (Article 34 of the Constitution), the environmental right (Article 35 of the Constitution), the protection of environmental rights backed by the law (Article 35 Section 2 of the Constitution), and the nondelegation doctrine (Article 75 of the Constitution).
The complaint calls upon the South Korean Constitutional court to declare these acts unconstitutional and create effective climate change mitigation in line with the Constitution and the Paris Agreement.