New Horizons in Environmental and Energy Law series
Edited by Michael Faure and Marjan Peeters
Michael Faure and Marjan Peeters INTRODUCTION For some the topic of climate change liability may still seem like nice legal ‘hocus pocus’, useful for academics with too much imagination, but not a tool that realistically could be used to force emitters of greenhouse gases towards preventive measures. It is indeed not difficult to identify the many hurdles and problems inherent to traditional liability law as a result of which climate change would almost feature as an example of the type of damage that could never be covered under traditional tort law. After all, tort law is primarily meant for situations where one victim (plaintiff) is injured by one identifiable injurer (defendant), whereby the causal link between the known damage suffered by the known victim and the activity of the identifiable injurer is quite clear and not debated. Damage resulting from climate change does not of course fit into this traditional picture: the damage suffered by one individual victim may often be very small. After all, all citizens worldwide could suffer from the effects of climate change, but for most the damage may be too limited to provide an incentive to bring a lawsuit. Even so, the number of defendants is potentially huge, but in particular the problems of causation seem insurmountable. The goal of this book was not to stress those hurdles and come to the conclusion that climate change liability should indeed stay within the ivory tower of academics. The contributors to this book did give these hurdles serious...
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