New Horizons in Environmental and Energy Law series
Edited by Michael Faure and Marjan Peeters
Chapter 7: Climate Change Litigation in the UK: Its Feasibility and Prospects
Giedrė Kaminskaitė-Salters* INTRODUCTION 1. The debate taking place both within the context of the international climate change negotiations and among national policy makers exploring the options for switching their economies to low-carbon development paths focuses on ex-ante regulatory measures and economic instruments, including the consolidation and expansion of international carbon markets, establishment of sectoral emissions trading regimes, national carbon budgets and innovative insurance schemes to meet the challenge of climate adaptation. However, ex-post instruments, such as private liability in the law of torts, are also coming to the fore as potential means of redressing the wrongs already caused, or that may be caused in the future, by the phenomenon of global warming. This is evidenced in the academic debate, where analyses such as those by R. Verheyen,1 J. Smith and D. Shearman,2 and D.A. Grossman3 have highlighted the importance of ex post liability instruments in addressing liability between state actors and private parties. This is also becoming evident in practice, whereby several pioneering climate change litigation cases have been launched in the US (though not yet in the UK or other European jurisdictions), signalling the fact that private litigation for climate damage is likely to gain in prominence in the future. In this context, the chapter examines the extent to which a claim brought by a private, public or quasi-public claimant against a private defendant (such as a producer of fossil fuels or major emitter of greenhouse gases) alleging climate change-related damage, and based on one or...
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