About

Catherine is a Policy Fellow who coordinates the Climate Change Laws of the World project – the most comprehensive global resource on climate legislation and policy.

Background

Catherine joined the Grantham Research Institute after nearly a decade of policy and advocacy work in the not for profit sector. Most recently, Catherine worked at the international environmental organisation CDP, where she led the organisation’s engagement with sub-national governments in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Before dedicating her career to the fight against climate change, Catherine spent many years working in the field of human rights. From 2011 to 2017 she worked for Reprieve, where she led the organisations’ work on death penalty cases in the Middle East and South Asia, as well as leading investigations and campaigns against extra-judicial killings by the US and its allies.

Catherine holds an LLM from the University of British Columbia, where her research focused on the intersection of human rights and climate change in strategic litigation. During her time at UBC Catherine also co-founded the UBC Climate Hub with a group of incredible student activists, becoming the Climate Hub’s first full time member of staff and establishing the Hub as a new unit within the UBC Sustainability Initiative.

Catherine sits on the Board of the not-for-profit organisation the Climate Litigation Network.

Research interests

  • The role of law in the transition to a net zero economy
  • Human rights and climate change
  • Multi-level governance and the role of sub-national governments in climate action
  • Just Transition

Research

Research - 2024

This article examines the 14 climate-related complaints filed under the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises on Responsible Business Conduct prior to the adoption of the 2023 Update, showing how many of these cases illustrate the potential interlinkages between the human rights and climate change dimensions of the Guidelines. Read more

Using publicly available data on country- and company-level net-zero targets, this econometric analysis reveals a positive relationship between state and company: A country introducing a domestic net-zero target in law increases the likelihood of companies introducing their own voluntary targets and vice-versa. Read more

Research - 2023

Research - 2021

Policy

Policy - 2024

Policy - 2023

Policy - 2022

Climate litigation in Europe has emerged as a way to bring about more ambitious climate policies and actions from governments and companies and some European cases and decisions have been influencing litigants and courts around the world. This report provides a synthesis of information on the current state of development of climate change litigation on the continent. Read more

Policy - 2021

Climate change framework laws are needed for the successful implementation of the Paris Agreement. This policy insight examines the elements that can be ‘built in’ to framework laws to specify accountability for the implementation of the core obligations contained within, based on a review of 43 such laws from the Climate Change Laws of the World database. Read more

Climate Change Laws of the World

Events

Events - 2022

Events - 2021

News

News - 2024

News - 2023

News - 2022

News - 2021

Environmental constitutionalism has become a widespread phenomenon but now a group of nations is taking things further, adopting ‘climate constitutionalism’ and thereby placing themselves at the forefront of expressing climate concerns in the language of constitutional rights, as this commentary explains. Read more

This report considers the recent spate of climate litigation cases against governments and major companies. It suggests that frustration with political progress on tackling climate change is leading communities and activists into taking court action. The article includes quotes from the Institute's Catherine Higham. Read more

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

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