Joana Setzer is an Assistant Professorial Research Fellow at the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). Her main areas of expertise are climate litigation and global environmental governance.

Since 2013 she has been involved, and since 2020 she leads the Grantham Research Institute’s Climate Change Laws of the World project – the most comprehensive global resource on climate policy, legislation and litigation.

Joana is currently serving as a Contributing Author for Working Group 3 of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Sixth Assessment Review (IPCC AR6). She regularly advises a range of international, governments and non-governmental organisations. She is a frequent speaker at academic and non-academic events, and a regular source for media outlets.


Joana was a British Academy Post-Doctoral Fellow (2016-2019). She holds a PhD (2014) and an MSc in Environment and Development from the LSE (2009), a Masters in Environmental Science from the University of Sao Paulo (2007), and an BA in Law from the Catholic University of Sao Paulo (2001). Prior to joining the LSE, she worked as an environmental lawyer in Brazil, and served as the external affairs coordinator of Regions4, a network that represents subnational governments at the international level in the field of sustainable development.

Research interests

  • Climate litigation
  • Subnational diplomacy
  • Multilevel climate and environmental governance
  • Climate change and environmental legislation


Research - 2021

This paper takes stock of recent developments in climate litigation, to make sense of the ‘rights turn’ identified by earlier studies. It maps pro and anti climate cases that rely in whole or in part on human rights arguments, using categories deployed in the literature on climate and on environmental rights litigation. The objective is to better appreciate the role of human rights law and remedies in climate action. Read more

Research - 2020

Research - 2019

Research - 2018

Research - 2017

Research - 2016

Research - 2015

Research - 2014

Research - 2013

Research - 2012


Policy - 2021

Policy - 2020

Policy - 2019

Policy - 2018

Policy - 2017

Policy - 2015

Policy - 2014


Books - 2021

Books - 2019

Books - 2018


Events - 2021

Events - 2020

Events - 2019

Events - 2018

Events - 2017


News - 2021

Joana Setzer, Catherine Higham and Vibha Mohan provide evidence to complement the OECD’s own ‘stocktake’ of the Guidelines for MNEs by reviewing key developments in understanding of responsible conduct in the climate context, drawing on important climate litigation cases. Read more

This article considers the implications of a court case brought against Royal Dutch Shell in the Netherlands. If the case is successful it could force the company to sharply reduce its carbon emissions. The article also looks at the growing number of climate litigation cases against companies and companies as analysed in a recent study by the Grantham Research Institute at LSE. Read more

News - 2020

News - 2019

In advance of the final judgement in the landmark Urgenda v. State of the Netherlands climate litigation case, this commentary shines the spotlight on whether human rights can serve as a basis for obliging states to reduce their emissions, and on the justifications behind the minimum 25 per cent emissions cut stipulated by the Hague District Court. Read more

News - 2018

On 6 to 8 November 2018, LSE will be hosting the UK hearings of the Philippines-initiated inquiry seeking to attribute the impacts of climate change to the 'Carbon Majors' - the world’s largest fossil fuel and cement producers. This commentary provides some background to the hearings. Read more

News - 2017

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