Climate Change Disobedience
University of Florida Journal of Law and Public Policy Forthcoming
57 Pages Posted: 12 Dec 2019 Last revised: 27 Mar 2020
Date Written: December 11, 2019
Among those who recognize climate change as an existential threat, some are willing to take dramatic action against it by committing civil disobedience. Activists, such as those taking part in the Extinction Rebellion in the United Kingdom, are willing to exchange their liberty for some putative good.
There is no discussion in the disobedience literature of the discrete purposes of climate disobedience or the principles by which climate activists ought to be guided in seeking to fulfill those purposes.
This Article takes on that task.
After offering an overview of the purposes of disobedience, this Article isolates those purposes relevant to a climate disobedience campaign, identifies those principles by which climate disobedients should abide to achieve the purposes most attainable by climate disobedience, analyzes a serious limitation inherent in climate disobedience, and suggests measures to counteract the effects of the limitation. Finally, it critically examines Extinction Rebellion with a view to more effective future disobedience.
Keywords: climate change, civil disobedience, Extinction Rebellion, climate disobedience, climate activists, protest
JEL Classification: K30
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation