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Knowledge, governance and scale in climate change litigation

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Courts are playing an increasingly visible role in policy debates about climate change mitigation and adaptation, as well as climate change-related loss and damage. In this lunchtime seminar I will discuss how lawsuits are addressing the causes and consequences of climate change, such as the expansion of airports, the reliance on coal-powered energy and the climate-related erosion of habitats. First I will present some general trends on climate litigation – the actors and jurisdictions involved, and main strategies used. I will then explore three key and emerging themes in the interdisciplinary literature on climate change litigation: the relationship between litigation and governance; how time and scale feature in climate litigation; and the role of science in climate change litigation. Finally, I will discuss some of the challenges of using courts to address climate change, as well as the pressing need for research examining the outcomes and impact of climate change litigation.

This talk is part of the Geographies of Knowledge - Department of Geography series.

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