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 Litigation wiki
Leave it in the Ground Initiative (LINGO)
Legal Briefing on Climate Litigation
Business & Human Rights Resource Centre, June 2019
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
So. Africa: NGO takes govt. to court over energy blue print, demanding transparency & accountability
Author: Centre for Environmental Rights, (South Africa)
‘No decisions about our energy future without transparency, says groundWork’ 28 July 2020...
Philippines: NGOs argue case alleging companies' responsibility for climate change and human rights impacts before the Commission on Human Rights
Author: Hasminah Dimaporo Paudac, OpenGlobalRights
"Toppling modern-day Goliaths in the fight against climate polluters," 15 July 2020...
Africa: Communities increasingly finding ways to challenge extractive projects contributing to climate change
Author: Pooven Moodley, Open Global Rights
‘Litigation to challenge large extractive projects is gaining traction in Africa’...
Author: Dineo Faku, Business Report (South Africa)
‘ArcelorMittal SA slapped with a R3.64m fine’ 11 June 2020...
So. Africa: UN special rapporteur on human rights and the environment offers to give evidence in air pollution case against govt
Author: South African Broadcasting Corporation News (SABC News)
‘UN human rights expert asks to give evidence in SA’s air pollution case’ 15 June 2020...
Author: Jonathan Watts, Guardian (UK)
"Dutch officials reveal measures to cut emissions after court ruling", 24 Apr 2020...
Kenya: How advocacy groups successfully campaigned against the construction of proposed Amu Power's coal-fired plant
Author: Rasna Warah, The Elephant (Kenya)
"Saving Lamu: How a Campaign for Environmental Justice Was Fought"...
Kenya: Tribunal cancels AMU Power's coal plant license over public participation & climate change impact
The National Environment Tribunal has cancelled AMU Power's proposed coal plant's environmental impact assessment licence issues by the National Environment Management Authority for omitting engineering plans and details of the plant from public...
Author: Business & Human Rights Resource Centre
For the past decade, climate litigation has been steadily rising across jurisdictions. Traditionally, these cases have been brought against governments, but there is now a steep rise in climate lawsuits brought directly against companies. This increase...
Author: Centro de Información sobre Empresas y Derechos Humanos
Durante la última década, los litigios climáticos han aumentado de manera constante en todas las jurisdicciones. Tradicionalmente, estos casos se han presentado en contra de los gobiernos, pero ahora hay un fuerte aumento en juicios por el clima,...