Climate change litigation
Mary Robinson, Former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and President of Ireland, has said that climate change is “very likely, the single greatest human rights challenge of the 21st century.” The consequences of climate change lead to severe loss and damage to people and the environment, having therefore a great impact on human rights (right to life, health, housing and food), especially affecting the most vulnerable populations.
Through careless management of their supply chains, greenhouse gas emissions and other type of pollution, companies’ behaviour can contribute to climate change. Some victims have made efforts recently to hold companies legally accountable for these impacts, and it appears as if this type of legal action is increasing. The following compilation of documents provides a resource for lawyers working on climate litigation issues. A broader approach to this topic can also be found in our Climate Justice section.
Resources on climate change litigation:
Turning up the heat: Corporate legal accountability for climate change
Business & Human Rights Resource Centre, June 2018
Climate justice: international momentum towards litigation
Keely Boom, Climate Justice Programme, 2016
Expert workshop report: "Climate Change & International Human Rights Law: The Challenges for Business"
Business & Human Rights Resource Centre; Notre Dame Law School, May 2015
Achieving Justice and Human Rights in an Era of Climate Disruption
Intl. Bar Association Presidential Task Force on Climate Change Justice and Human Rights, 2014
Climate change litigation in the UK: An explanatory approach (or bringing grievance back in)
Chris Hilson, University of Reading, 2010
Analyses of issues to be addressed: Climate change litigation cases
Friends of the Earth Netherlands, 2007
Climate change and international human rights litigation: A critical appraisal
Eric A. Posner, Kirkland & Ellis Professor, University of Chicago Law School, 2007
Climate change litigation in the US
Arnold & Porter, LLP, 2007
Lawsuits against companies related to climate change
See our case profiles here.
Related stories and components
Author: Maysa Zorob & Marion Cadier, Business & Human Rights Resource Centre
"Are courts the new front line for climate justice?", 13 June 2018 ...
New Annual Briefing on legal accountability: Turning up the heat: Corporate legal accountability for climate change
This year's Corporate Legal Accountability Annual Briefing explores the rising trend of climate litigation brought against companies. Turning up the heat: Corporate legal accountability for climate change examines the opportunities and challenges for ...
USA: Lawsuit challenges oil & gas leases alleging Govt.'s failure to consider possible water contamination & climate change
Author: Ucilia Wang, Climate Liability News (USA)
"New Lawsuit Denounces Climate Impact of Montana Mining Leases", 21 May 2018...
USA: Colorado communities file lawsuit against Suncor & ExxonMobil to hold them accountable for the costs of climate change
On April 17th, 2018, the Colorado communities of Boulder County, San Miguel County, and the City of Boulder filed a lawsuit against Suncor and ExxonMobil, with legal support from EarthRights International, Niskanen Center, and other co-counsel. The...
USA: State of Florida to face youth-led climate lawsuit over permitting & licensing fossil fuel activities
USA: Court rules Attorney General can request records to investigate whether Exxon concealed its knowledge of climate change
Author: Nate Raymond, Reuters
"Massachusetts top court rules against Exxon in climate change probe", 13 Apr 2018...
Colombia: Court recognizes right to healthy environment in youth climate lawsuit; orders govt. to protect Amazon rainforest
Netherlands: Friends of the Earth to file lawsuit against Shell if co. fails to address its climate change impacts