On October 8, 2020, the Institute of Amazonian Studies (Instituto de Estudos Amazônicos - IEA) filed a Public Civil Action (class action) against the Federal Government of Brazil, seeking recognition of a fundamental right to a stable climate for present and future generations under the Brazilian Constitution, and seeking an order to compel the federal government to comply with national climate law. Plaintiffs allege that the federal government has failed to comply with its own action plans to prevent deforestation and mitigate and adapt to climate change, violating national law and fundamental rights. Plaintiffs assert that the government has failed to meet the Brazilian emissions targets set out in the Climate Change National Policy Act, a binding act passed by the Brazilian legislature. In order to meet these targets, the federal government issued a decree setting out specific action plans for preventing and controlling deforestation in various Brazilian biomes, as well as outlining sectoral plans for climate change mitigation and adaptation. A key part of this decree is the Action Plan for Prevention and Control of Deforestation in Legal Amazon (PPCDAm). By failing to meet critical targets in the PPCDAm and emissions targets, plaintiffs allege that the government is violating fundamental rights and national law. Plaintiffs seek an order to compel the federal government to comply with its existing policies, to reforest an area equivalent to what was deforested beyond the statutory limit, and to allocate sufficient budgetary resources for this purpose.
At Issue: Whether the Brazilian Constitution guarantees a fundamental right to a stable climate and whether the Brazilian government may be compelled to meet emission and deforestation reduction goals