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Report: Global Climate Lawsuits Against Governments and Polluters on the Rise

...That report, published July 3 by the London School of Economics’ Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, provides an overview of climate change lawsuits around the world including key developments between May 2019 and May 2020...While a majority of climate-related lawsuits are routine cases such as regulatory proceedings or challenges to fossil fuel permitting, cases are also being brought more strategically as a way to hold governments and companies accountable for damaging climate impacts...The report finds an “uptick in litigation relying on human rights arguments over the past 12 months.”...Human rights are starting to emerge in litigation or quasi-judicial proceedings against large fossil fuel companies – companies that researchers have identified as “carbon majors.” A lawsuit in France against the oil company Total, for example, claims the company’s business is not aligned with a French law requiring corporations to identify and mitigate risks to human rights and the environment...

Most litigation against fossil fuel companies or “carbon majors” relating to climate change is in the U.S. These cases are increasingly being brought with diverse legal theories including two new cases filed in June 2020 under state consumer protection statutes...Other cases have been brought against companies claiming investor and consumer fraud as well as misleading advertising. A high-profile investor fraud case brought by the New York Attorney General against ExxonMobil was dismissed last year, but three other attorneys general have since brought similar cases focusing on consumer fraud claims. Most recently, attorneys general in Minnesota and Washington DC brought consumer fraud lawsuits against Exxon and several other Big Oil defendants...