Transnational Climate Litigation: The Contribution of the Global South

Jacqueline Peel and Jolene Lin, Transnational Climate Litigation: The Contribution of the Global South, 113(3) American Journal of International Law (2019) (Forthcoming)

U of Melbourne Legal Studies Research Paper No. 843

96 Pages Posted: 24 May 2019 Last revised: 8 Oct 2019

See all articles by Jacqueline Peel

Jacqueline Peel

University of Melbourne - Law School

Jolene Lin

National University of Singapore (NUS) - Faculty of Law

Date Written: April 28, 2019

Abstract

Coinciding with negotiations for, and conclusion of, the Paris Agreement, litigation raising issues of climate change has become a global phenomenon. This global expansion gives substance to claims of a transnational climate justice movement with courts as important players shaping multilevel climate governance. However, most climate litigation scholarship and practitioner discussion focuses on court actions in developed countries of the Global North, with little analysis of climate cases in the Global South. Nonetheless, it is these countries—in Asia, the Pacific, Africa, and Latin America—that are among the most vulnerable to climate impacts.

This Article is the first to shine a light on the Global South’s contribution to transnational climate litigation. We argue that analysis of this experience is essential if transnational climate jurisprudence is to contribute meaningfully to global climate governance and to ensuring just outcomes for the most climate-vulnerable. Attention to the types of climate cases emerging in the Global South allows reframing of our understanding of transnational climate litigation to encompass suits that: raise climate issues “at the edge” as well as at the center of the litigation; frame claims in terms of constitutional and human rights; seek to hold governments to account for implementation and enforcement of existing mitigation and adaptation goals rather than pursuing new or better climate laws; and advance climate change concerns via a “stealthy” strategy that recognizes judicial reluctance to engage politically-charged climate policy questions.

Viewing transnational climate litigation through this broader “lens” allows a clearer picture of its distinctive governance role and possibilities for fostering more robust climate action in the Global South. At the same time, there is the potential to enhance transnational dialogue about the role of courts in climate governance by drawing lessons from decisions in the Global South for case law development elsewhere, both in the Global North and in other Global South countries.

Keywords: climate litigation, transnational governance, Paris Agreement, Global South, Global North, constitutional rights, climate justice

JEL Classification: K32, K33

Suggested Citation

Peel, Jacqueline and Lin, Jolene, Transnational Climate Litigation: The Contribution of the Global South (April 28, 2019). Jacqueline Peel and Jolene Lin, Transnational Climate Litigation: The Contribution of the Global South, 113(3) American Journal of International Law (2019) (Forthcoming), U of Melbourne Legal Studies Research Paper No. 843, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3379155

Jacqueline Peel (Contact Author)

University of Melbourne - Law School ( email )

University Square
185 Pelham Street, Carlton
Victoria, Victoria 3010
Australia
+613 8344 1115 (Phone)
+613 9347 2394 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://https://law.unimelb.edu.au/about/staff/jacqueline-peel

Jolene Lin

National University of Singapore (NUS) - Faculty of Law ( email )

469G Bukit Timah Road
Eu Tong Sen Building
Singapore, 259776
Singapore

Here is the Coronavirus
related research on SSRN

Paper statistics

Downloads
232
Abstract Views
931
rank
144,413
PlumX Metrics