Climate Change Law: From Classrooms to Courts

1.) Climate Change Law: The Emergence of a New Legal Discipline

By Jacqueline Peel [(2008) 32(3) Melbourne University Law Review 922]

In recent times the issue of climate change has catapulted to the forefront of scientific and policy agendas. Climate change threatens to have wide-ranging impacts on ecosystems and presents enormous challenges for conventional modes of socioeconomic governance. Against this backdrop, the last few years have seen the consolidation of a body of legal rules and principles organised around the central problems of mitigating and adapting to climate change. The new climate change law spans from international to local levels of governance, and encompasses the activities of a wide range of actors including governments, businesses and non-governmental environmental groups. This article surveys the scope of the new discipline of climate change law, providing a synopsis of its primary component areas. It also elaborates the main challenges climate change law is likely to face as its development proceeds apace, such as coping with internationalization of the greenhouse problem, ensuring that avenues for widespread participation in climate change regulation exist, and integrating governance and regulatory frameworks across political and disciplinary boundaries. How climate change law responds to this last challenge, in particular, is likely to be determinative of its effectiveness and cohesiveness as a body of law for dealing with the broad predicted impacts of global warming.


2.) Teaching Environmental Law in the Era of Climate Change: A Few Whats, Whys, and Hows

By Michael Robinson-Dorn [82 Wash. L. Rev. 619 (2007)]


3.) Issues in Climate Change Litigation

By Jacqueline Peel [Carbon & Climate Law Review Vol. 5, No. 1, 2011]

Climate change is an urgent environmental problem yet many governments have struggled to develop an effective national regulatory response. Instead, environmental advocates have turned increasingly to courts for a solution, mounting ambitious climate change cases in countries such as Australia and the United States, as well as under inter national law. This article examines several cross-cutting issues that present challenges for potential litigants across the broad spectrum of climate change litigation. They include problems of proof, of dealing with cumulative and indirect impacts, and of establishing a significant contribution to global warming, as well as issues surrounding the respective roles of courts and legislatures in developing a regulatory response to the problem of climate change.


4.) Climate Change Meets the Law of the Horse

By J.B. Ruhl & James Salzman [62 Duke Law Journal 975-1027 (2013)]

The climate-policy debate has only recently turned its full attention to adaptation-how to address the impacts of the climate change that we have already begun to experience and that will likely increase over time. Legal scholars have in turn begun to explore how the many different fields of law will and should respond. During this nascent period, one overarching question has gone unexamined: How will the legal system as a whole organize around climate change adaptation? Will a new, distinct field of climate adaptation law and policy emerge, or will legal institutions simply work away at the problem through unrelated, self-contained fields, as in the famous Law of the Horse? This Article is the first to examine that question comprehensively, to move beyond thinking about the law and climate change adaptation to consider the law of climate change adaptation.


5.) Urgent Agenda: How Climate Litigation Builds Transnational Narratives

By Phillip Paiement [Transnational Legal Theory, 2041-4013, 2020]

This article draws on the notion of co-production to assess the construction of transnational narratives in climate change litigation. Using the examples of recent cases from the Netherlands, Norway, and Ireland, the article identifies a common narrative regarding the temporal dimension of climate change and its governance. Litigants are shown to develop a notion of urgency for national climate policies with the help of symbols and discourses—including pathways, crossroads, milestones, thresholds and carbon budgets—in order to attribute meaning to complex models of the future climate, and the immediate responsibilities of states to limit future global warming. In response, states offer depictions of the future in which technological and economic evolutions render our current climate crisis less challenging and costly. This narrative approach helps make sense of the transnational legal strategies through which our understanding of responsibility and climate justice is unfolding.