Lawsuits over climate change “will dwarf all other litigation in terms of both the number of plaintiffs, and the timeframe over which it can happen,” according to a report last month by Australia’s Climate Justice Programme and the Heinrich Böll Foundation.
“As climate change impacts start to bite, we are going to see a lot more, especially when you look at the role the fossil fuel industry has been playing to stop action on climate change,” said CJP attorney and lead author Dr. Keely Boom.
“Unlike tobacco, where cases were largely based in the U.S., we find that climate change litigation is transnational, multi-generational, and cross-jurisdictional,” she added. “Climate litigation is likely to be global, and with much bigger damages than seen with tobacco and asbestos, especially as governments are continuing to fail to take strong enough action to even keep warming to 2˚C, let alone pursuing efforts to limit it to 1.5˚C as agreed in Paris.”
Among nine recommendations, the report calls on governments to exclude fossil companies from international climate negotiations, acknowledge their own “affirmative sovereign obligations” to ensure a healthy atmosphere, ocean, and climate system, eliminate fossil subsidies, and introduce a fossil levy to help fund the International Mechanism for Loss and Damage.