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"Climate Litigation in Europe Unleashed: Catalysing Action Against States and Corporations"

Updated: Apr 24

This article origionally comes from Bonavero Reports

Snippet from the Forward of the Report:

When the Vice-Chair of the European Central Bank devotes his keynote speech at the Bank’s Legal Conference to ‘Climate Litigation - Come Hell or High Water’, you know that climate litigation has arrived. In addressing why the financial sector and financial stability are affected by climate and environmental related litigation, Frank Elderson focuses mainly on European litigation, unsurprising for a European regulator, though neglecting the somewhat older trend of climate litigation in the USA. Climate litigation-oriented NGOs may, in equal measure, be surprised by and in agreement with some of Elderson’s remarks.
After citing the litigation by Notre Affaire à Tous, Les Amis de la Terre, and Oxfam against Bank Paribas, he said, "The litigants in these cases are sophisticated and use their transnational networks to build precedents across borders. They are well-funded, well-connected and wellorganised. And they can – and do – hire the best and brightest lawyers in the field."
Those litigants might not always feel quite that well-funded, connected or organised. But they will note his confirmation that litigation may increasingly be a driver for change in boardrooms across many industry sectors as well as in government circles when he says: "To address this source of litigation risk, the best advice I can give is that banks should start putting in place their Paris-aligned transition plans."
Only weeks after Elderson’s address, many of the lawyers and others involved in some of the cases he describes joined an experts’ workshop of academics and practitioners of climate litigation held at the Bonavero Institute at the University of Oxford in November 2023. This Report is the result. Let me highlight three main themes. First, in a growing and fast-moving field, this Report provides the opportunity to look under the surface and to detect the deep patterns and the contours of strategic climate litigation. This helps litigants and their backers to chart a course for future litigation and to focus on areas that are most likely to further the primary goals of such litigation, a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, and greater adaptation efforts for the hardest hit. One such contour is the intertwined relationship between policy and litigation, using a litigation pathway that creates a positive feedback loop with policy-making, as with the European Union Green Deal.1

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