If at first you don’t succeed: suing corporations for climate change


This paper discusses the history and the future prospects of private climate litigation, which seeks to hold private entities legally accountable for climate change-related damage or threats of damage. It argues that, following failed attempts to clear judicial thresholds with regard to standing, proof of harm and causation, a new wave of private climate change lawsuits can be identified, and it is by no means doomed to failure. This is because climate change litigation takes place in a rapidly evolving scientific, discursive and constitutional context, which generates new opportunities for judges to rethink the interpretation of existing legal and evidentiary requirements and apply them in a way that will enhance the accountability of major private carbon producers. Moreover, even unsuccessful cases can contribute to articulating climate change as a legal and financial risk, which may help to guide climate change responsive adjudication in the longer term.

Ganguly, Geetanjali and Setzer, Joana and Heyvaert, Veerle (2018) If at first you don’t succeed: suing corporations for climate change. Oxford Journal of Legal Studies. ISSN 0143-6503