Human rights-based litigation as a tool to address climate change: the impact of courts and media on climate policy

Thumbnail Image
Frerichs, Lea
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Human rights-based climate change litigation can be an effective tool for persuading states to take more ambitious climate change action, and media attention can amplify the success of lawsuits both in and out of court. As climate change poses a serious threat to humanity and threatens the enjoyment of basic human rights worldwide, lawsuits can result in measures to mitigate and adapt to climate change. Current global efforts are insufficient to avert catastrophic consequences and to meet the actions that are urgently needed from a scientific perspective. This paper examines the extent to which effective climate policy and human rights protection can be granted through climate litigation. Therefore, the study looks at how climate litigation can be used strategically and how external factors like the media influence the overarching success for the climate. Timely and far-reaching political decisions on climate protection are essential for a livable environment in the future. The current trend of climate claims and the recent change in public and court perceptions regarding climate change could achieve this. Through a qualitative case analysis of three complaints, the impact of specific lawsuits in Pakistan, the Netherlands and Germany is examined. The jurisprudential and sociological analysis aims to determine the extent to which litigation and accompanied media attention are leading to concrete climate policy outcomes, the implementation of the judgments, and thus more climate protection. The study concludes that human rights-based climate litigation can be a useful tool for more climate protection, as the court decisions and extrajudicial effects can have a significant impact on climate policy. Likewise, strategic litigation plays a crucial role, especially for very ambitious lawsuits, as in Urgenda Foundation v the State of the Netherlands. Climate-protecting political measures can thus be influenced in a targeted manner through climate change litigation.
Second semester University: Lund University
climatic changes, environmental policy, human rights, media, Pakistan, The Netherlands, Germany, courts