Litigating Climate Change Adaptation: Theory, Practice, and Corrective (Climate) Justice

13 Pages Posted: 10 Jan 2014

See all articles by Maxine Burkett

Maxine Burkett

University of Hawaii at Manoa - William S. Richardson School of Law

Date Written: 2012

Abstract

The Supreme Court's decision in American Electric Power v. Connecticut appeared to affirm what many legal scholars have argued: that tort law is not a suitable or effective means to address climate change. While it did close a valuable door for plaintiffs seeking to advance the "carbon tort," it did not represent the end of tort law's role in providing relief for those whom climate change impacts now and into the future. Tort law can address climate impacts directly, by spurring compensation for harms incurred, and indirectly, by galvanizing both mitigation and adaptation measures to avoid the threat of liability. The key is finding the appropriate defendants - ones with whom the common law is quite familiar. Particularly for the most vulnerable, the virtues of corrective justice and civil recourse - core goals of tort law - are especially meaningful and are key first steps in more transformative legal approaches to the climate crisis.

Keywords: climate change, climate justice, corrective justice, tort law

JEL Classification: K13, K32, K33, K41

Suggested Citation

Burkett, Maxine, Litigating Climate Change Adaptation: Theory, Practice, and Corrective (Climate) Justice (2012). Environmental Law Reporter, Vol. 42, No. 12, 2012. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2376965

Maxine Burkett (Contact Author)

University of Hawaii at Manoa - William S. Richardson School of Law ( email )

2515 Dole Street
Honolulu, HI 96822-2350
United States

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