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3 Jul 2020

Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, London School of Economics

Global trends in climate change litigation: 2020 snapshot

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...This report reviews key developments around the world in climate litigation over the period May 2019 to May 2020, in the latest in our annual series...It explores the continued and growing focus in climate cases on human rights and the different strategies used in recent litigation against major fossil fuel companies. It also offers insights and suggestions for how litigants and policymakers could measure the impacts of climate litigation...

Main messages

  • From May 2019 – May 2020 climate litigation cases were filed across six continents. They include complaints made to National Contact Points for the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, and to UN Special Rapporteurs.
  • Outside the Unites States, trends in the type of plaintiff and defendant are similar to previous years: over 80 per cent of these cases have been brought against governments, typically by corporations or individuals. Climate change was at the centre of the legal argument in about 41 per cent of cases, and was a peripheral issue in the remaining 59 per cent.
  • For non-US cases, 58 per cent of cases had outcomes favourable to climate change action, 33 per cent had unfavourable outcomes, and 9 per cent had no discernible likely impact on climate policy...

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Report analyses trends in climate litigation, including diverse strategies used against companies

Companies face surge in strategic climate change litigation