Climate Change Lawsuits Increase as World Hurtles Towards 1.5C

A report published by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia University found that the number of climate change lawsuits have more than doubled in the last five years. 

Since UNEP started tracking climate litigation in 2017, over 2,300 climate court cases have been filed. The UN programme said this was an indication that people are turning to courts to keep governments and corporations accountable. 

“The climate crisis is getting worse, not better,” said Patricia Kameri-Mbote, who leads UNEP’s legal division. “People are increasingly turning to the courts for answers.” 

“There is a distressingly growing gap between the level of greenhouse gas reductions the world needs to achieve in order to meet its temperature targets, and the actions that governments are actually taking to lower emissions,” said Michael Gerrard, the founder and director of the Sabin Center. “This inevitably will lead more people to resort to the courts.” 

The largest number of climate cases have been filed in the United States, which accounts for around 70% of the global total. Australia, the United Kingdom, European Union courts and the United Kingdom round out the top five. 

Nearly 20% of cases have been filed in developing countries, the report said. For the first time, two developing countries – Mexico and Brazil – are in the top ten. 

Experts have warned that the world is on track to exceed the 1.5C global heating threshold set out by the Paris Agreement. Its current emissions trajectory is set to exceed pre-industrial levels by 2.7C, according to financial think tank Carbon Tracker. 

Businesses’ responsibility 

Sustainability in business is no longer just a responsibility. It also carries serious legal and financial consequences.  

As civil society calls for stronger action on climate change by turning to legal measures, businesses who invest in their environmental strategies will be better protected. 

How can they know where to start? 

At ClearVUE.Business, we make actionable sustainability easy. Our technology provides metrics and data in-real-time and our experts analyse the data and guide you on lowering emissions without deterring current operations. 

Contact us today. 

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