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Using Litigation to Enforce Climate Obligations under Domestic and International Laws

DOI https://doi.org/10.21552/CCLR/2012/3/219

Saheed Alabi


Climate change continues to affect global areas of importance such as human rights, the marine environment, and international trade. This article explores the use of litigation as an alternative way to combat climate change. Whilst there are a number of enforcement strategies under the climate change regime, litigation is not adopted as a means of enforcing obligations and commitments. However, there has been little development in strengthening the enforcement of climate obligations during Copenhagen 2009, Cancun 2010, and Durban 2011 climate talks. Few studies on climate change have proposed litigation as a method of enforcement under the climate change regime; they do not perform advanced analysis of the effectiveness of climate litigation specifically at the international level. This is imperative because of the ambition to litigate climate issues domestically and internationally.. The article proposes two main questions. First, how effective is climate litigation in reshaping global responses to climate change? Second, how strong is litigation in enforcing climate obligations (mitigation and adaptation)? In answering these questions, this article analyzes domestic and international climate cases to determine whether there has been or will be progress using climate litigation.

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