The Grantham Research Institute on Climate and the Environment has released its annual report that completes a stocktake of climate change legislation and litigation across 164 countries. The Report found that over the last 20 years there has been a twenty-fold increase in climate change legislation. This breadth of baseline policy means future legal developments will focus on reinforcing existing laws and legislating any gaps that arise under the current legislative frameworks.
There is a declining trend of climate change related litigation across the world since it peaked in 2007. Over three-quarters of cases approach climate change litigation through administrative claims such as incorrect consideration of climate data in decision making or incorrect conclusions formed under a project’s Environmental Impact Assessment. Australia represents a large proportion of recent climate change litigation case law despite no federal or state legislation explicitly requiring the consideration of climate change in administrative decision making. The Australian experience with climate change litigation over the last twenty years has demonstrated a trend of addressing legislative inactivity through the alternative legal avenue of the judiciary. Similar trends have been observed in New Zealand and Canada.
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