State actions and libertarian lawsuits

Lessons from Covid for the climate emergency

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  • Published 20210129
  • ISBN: 978-1-922212-56-6
  • Extent: 264pp
  • Paperback (234 x 153mm), eBook

IN SEPTEMBER 2020, for the first time in its seventy-­five-­year history, the annual meeting of the UN General Assembly was held virtually. In Le Corbusier’s vast General Assembly Hall, UN officials and a single masked representative of each member state sat in a socially distanced formation, leaving most of the 1,800 seats vacant. World leaders made their presentations in fifteen-­minute pre-recorded statements. Their appearances by video on two giant screens that dwarfed the room’s human inhabitants intensified the dystopian quality of the proceedings.

Addressing that largely empty auditorium, UN Secretary-­General António Guterres commented on this strange sight in ‘a world turned upside down’. However, he added, while COVID-­19 had changed the annual meeting beyond recognition, it had also made it more important than ever. The pandemic is ‘the kind of crisis that we will see in different forms again and again. COVID-­19 is not only a wake-­up call, it is a dress rehearsal for the world of challenges to come.’

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About the author

Anne Orford

Anne Orford is Redmond Barry Distinguished Professor and Michael D Kirby Chair of International Law at Melbourne Law School. Her latest book is International Law...

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