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:

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

Sabin Centre for Climate Change Law, including Non U.S. climate change litigation chart
Columbia Law School, 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

The tortuous road to liability: A critical survey on climate change litigation in Europe and North America
Luciano Butti, 2011

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.

Get RSS feed of these results

Related stories and components

Story
17 April 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...

See full story

Story
17 April 2018

USA: State of Florida to face youth-led climate lawsuit over permitting & licensing fossil fuel activities

See full story

Article
16 April 2018

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...

Read more

Article
5 February 2018

Greenpeace appeals Norway Arctic oil drilling case

Author: Megan Darby, Climate Home News

Campaigners will take their battle to block Arctic oil drilling to Norway’s supreme court, they announced on Monday....

Read more

Story
31 January 2018

Colombia: 25 young Colombians sue Govt. in first climate change lawsuit in Latin America

See full story

Story
30 January 2018
+ Español - Hide
Article
29 January 2018

Colombian Youth File the First Climate Change Lawsuit in Latin America

Author: Angélica María Cuevas Guarnizo, DeJusticia

...[A] group of 25 plaintiffs, between 7 and 26 years old, are filing a legal action to demand that the national government protects their rights to a healthy environment, life, health, food, and water. They claim that the rampant deforestation in the...

Read more

Article
29 January 2018
+ Español - Hide

Author: Dejusticia

Un grupo de 25 niños, niñas y jóvenes interpusieron una acción judicial para exigir la defensa de sus derechos a un ambiente sano, a la vida a la salud, la alimentación y el agua, amenazados por la deforestación en la Amazonía y sus efectos en el...

Read more

Article
29 January 2018

Young Colombians file landmark climate lawsuit

Author: Anastasia Moloney, Thomson Reuters Foundation

A group of young Colombians, one as young as seven, filed a lawsuit against the Colombian government on Monday demanding it protect their right to a healthy environment in what campaigners said was the first such action in Latin America....

Read more

Article
26 January 2018
+ Español - Hide

Author: Helena Calle/Infoamazonia, El Espectador

Veinticinco jóvenes colombianos quieren defender su herencia ambiental, por eso exigen a las autoridades que se frene la tala en la Amazonia y se cumplan los Acuerdos de París....

Read more