The Global Growth of Climate Change Litigation

As climate breakdown intensifies and effective solutions are sought, a new front has developed in the fight against global warming: lawsuits. In the US, fueled by historical discoveries attesting to deceptive activities by fossil fuel producers, dozens of suits modeled after tobacco and opioid litigation have sprung up. In Europe and elsewhere, other suits seek to align corporate and government policies with the Paris Agreement. And in international courts, claimants seek action based in human rights principles. Climate litigation has the potential to hold obstructive companies and governments to account, compel decarbonization, compensate global warming’s victims, and further principles of equity and justice. In this talk, I’ll explore the drivers of climate litigation, the latest trends, potential future directions, and how researchers can contribute.