Climate's Best Defense
Climate litigation is getting its “you can’t handle the truth!” moment as communities use it to force government to uphold emission targets and keep corporations accountable for damages.
In Australia, a proposed coal mine was scuttled when the court factored both local and global emission targets into their decision, weighing not just the toll of extraction at home, but carbon release in the countries where the coal would eventually burn. In the Netherlands, the high court recently upheld a lower court’s decision that forces the government to double their proposed emission cuts. And in the U.S., 21 teenagers are suing the government on behalf of future generations over their right to a stable climate system. Globally, more than 1k cases have been filed—begging the question: why now?
While courts may be increasingly sympathetic to the cause, and case law makes the next case less irregular, it’s the understanding of the science—and its availability to communities—that can undermine what was once a previously solid industry defense.
+ Up next: Ireland, where a citizen movement is looking for a bigger carbon tax, electric vehicle incentives, and the expansion of public transport.
+ Forget winter. “Litigation is coming. There’s going to be billions of dollars on the table.”
+ Lunch with Chief Justice Brian Preston, a pioneer in climate litigation.
+ A map of climate litigation (free carbon credits if you can guess the origin of 60% of the cases).