With the rapid increase of climate change and the effects that it has on various regions and domains, environmentalists are starting to use a new weapon – climate litigation. In easier to understand terms, they are trying to get companies and governments to account for the damage that they have cause to the environment by taking them to court. Slowly but certainly, there are people all over the world that are starting to do this, with the US having the largest number of climate litigation cases so far.
Climate litigation in the US
People in the US are inspired by the success that others had in the past with the fight against tobacco or against racial segregation. The Sabin Center for Climate Change Law has already recorded over 1000 cases that want to stress the damage that has been done to the environment and get the people responsible to pay for it.
Julia Olson, part of the Our Children’s Trust group as lead counsel is fighting for awareness. She said that the US, under the Trump administration, has only put Americans at risk by not tackling global warming as fast as they promised.
Climate litigation in the UK
The government is facing the biggest climate change lawsuit so far. A group of 12 citizens, called Plan B, are going to get the government to stay true to their promises for their 2050 carbon target. It can be said that the UK government is not that responsible but, were we to take into consideration the staggering damage that has already been done, it is a good idea to get them to stay on track and continuously fight the battle.
The first victory
In 2015 in the case of Urgenda against Netherlands, it was rules that the state should lower the level of emissions that were allowed. However, the case is now under appeal.