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
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
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...
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....
- Related stories: Norway: Court dismisses climate lawsuit against the Gvt. regarding Arctic oil drilling licenses
- Related in-depth areas: Accountability: Loss & damage, litigation, shareholder activism Climate change litigation Latest Legal News
- Related companies: Chevron ExxonMobil RWE Statoil
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...
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...
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....
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....