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

Climate litigation is not going away any time soon.
Climate Crisis = Human Rights Crisis
Climate litigation is not going away any time soon.

Lawsuits demanding accountability and action on the existential threat of climate change continue to take hold across the world with some significant new developments and new cases emerging over the past year, according to a new report on trends in global climate change litigation.

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. Grantham Research Institute maintains a database of global climate change lawsuits and in recent years has issued annual reports on trends in climate litigation.

Over the past three decades climate change lawsuits have spread across six continents with over 1,500 cases identified in 37 countries, according to the latest report. Most of these cases are in the U.S., though increasingly cases are emerging outside the U.S. including 26 new cases in the last year alone. The Global South (Asia, Africa and Latin America) has seen 37 cases of climate litigation to date.

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. This kind of litigation against national governments and against fossil fuel companies has taken off in recent years.

Read time: 6 mins

Main Image: Climate litigation increasingly focuses on human rights violations stemming from the climate crisis. Credit: Dana Drugmand

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