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Hari M. Osofsky

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Hari M Osofsky

This article uses developments in three cases claiming environmental harm and human rights violations arising from Shell Oil's operations in Nigeria – brought in the United States, the Netherlands, and Nigeria – to explore the complex intersection of transnational corporate responsibility, environmental justice, and climate change. It considers the nature of environmental rights violations in general and those in Nigeria in particular, the barriers to addressing these problems through law, and the ways in which the problem of climate change intersects with these justice dilemmas. The article takes an interdisciplinary law and geography approach to these issues, analysing how the way in which we view the nation-state, the multinational corporation, and their interrelationship influences our understanding of the state–corporate relationships in, and justice implications of, these situations. It argues that whether we treat Nigeria and Shell Oil as enclosed, permeable, or enmeshed spaces limits or expands the ways in which these cases might fit into broader environmental justice strategies. The article concludes with an assessment of how future efforts might build upon these cases and this analysis of their implications.

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Hari M Osofsky

Abstract Although climate change is often treated as an international problem due to its global dimensions, mitigation and adaptation interact with a variety of public and private actors at multiple levels of government. Elinor Ostrom introduced the term ‘polycentric governance’ in this context to describe this phenomenon, though many others have used different terms to describe the multiscalar, multipolar quality of climate change regulation. This chapter begins by introducing why and the ways in which polycentric governance and similar concepts have been used in the climate change context. Then, it considers two examples of polycentric governance efforts focused on subnational actors – multilevel networks of local governments and multilevel climate change litigation. It concludes by considering the benefits and limitations of polycentric approaches to climate change governance.