State Standing in Climate Change Lawsuits

23 Pages Posted: 12 May 2011

See all articles by Kirsten H. Engel

Kirsten H. Engel

University of Arizona - James E. Rogers College of Law

Date Written: May 9, 2011


This Article reviews the status of state standing in climate change litigation with specific attention to the confusion over the source of state standing and the test that applies. The article concludes that standing based upon parens patriae, or the status of a state as a sovereign, may appear attractive to the courts concerned about opening the courthouse door to climate litigation by private individuals. The article suggests a rationale for parens patriae standing based upon the importance of the existence of a federal court forum to address states’ efforts to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from out of-state sources. Finally, the article discusses the advantages and disadvantages of relying upon states to vindicate, in federal court, the interests of their citizenry in redressing harms attributable to climate change.

Keywords: Climate Change, States, Article III, Standing, Litigation

JEL Classification: K32, K41

Suggested Citation

Engel, Kirsten H., State Standing in Climate Change Lawsuits (May 9, 2011). Journal of Land Use & Environmental Law, Vol. 28, p. 217, 2011, Arizona Legal Studies Discussion Paper No. 11-19, Available at SSRN:

Kirsten H. Engel (Contact Author)

University of Arizona - James E. Rogers College of Law ( email )

P.O. Box 210176
Tucson, AZ 85721-0176
United States
520-621-5444 (Phone)

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