After more than two decades of delay, ineffectiveness, excuses, and corporate capture and policy interference, along with the failure of international climate negotiations, climate litigation offers an alternative path. It has the potential to force polluting industries to cease operations, provide reparations for damages, and safeguard the rights of vulnerable communities—in a short period of time.
This strategy is still under development, has limited jurisprudence, and there are limits to its power in the vast majority of countries. Despite this, in the last decade, there have been successful cases of climate litigation all around the world. People and organizations can use it as a tool to hold big polluters—both corporations and governments—accountable, and to demand safeguards for the rights of vulnerable communities and victims of extractivism.
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