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13 Jan 2013

Fred Pearce, Yale Environment 360 [USA]

Should Polluting Nations Be Liable for Climate Damages?

[The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change] allows countries to take those nations failing in their duties under the convention to the…International Court of Justice...[I]f countries can sue each other, why not private actions against fossil fuel companies and other corporate polluters? The few attempts so far by citizens to take climate change to court, mostly in the U.S., have been unsuccessful. Courts have dismissed their actions on the grounds that climate change is a political rather than a legal issue…[One case] brought echoes of the…class actions against tobacco and asbestos companies that hung…on their denial of the science proving the risks from their products...“If they set up a mechanism for compensation internationally, that would make private litigation more difficult…because [US] courts might defer to that process,” [according to a lawyer]… [also refers to Exxon Mobil]