Climate change litigation

Jacqueline Peel, Hari M. Osofsky

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Climate change litigation has grown exponentially in the last decade, paralleled by the emergence of a rich legal and social sciences literature assessing these cases. Building on a recent review in WIRES Climate Change, this article evaluates the growth of this literature and the key themes it highlights. In 2019, climate litigation literature experienced substantial growth, with a focus on multiple novel dimensions: new high-profile judgments; emerging legal avenues, types of actors, litigation objectives, and jurisdictions, especially those in the Global South; and additional interdisciplinary analyses. Just as in the underlying case law, climate litigation scholarship shows evidence of distinct but overlapping waves that build together in a manner similar to a harmonic chord. Even so, this literature has not yet engaged deeply with questions about the effectiveness of climate litigation as a governance tool, particularly in the context of the decentralized system formalized with the 2015 Paris Agreement.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)21-38
Number of pages18
JournalAnnual Review of Law and Social Science
StatePublished - Oct 13 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Law


Dive into the research topics of 'Climate change litigation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this