Briefcase

Briefcase: Climate in Court

Guest: Tracy Hester

Climate change litigation has increased, and scholars say this is just the beginning. Tracy Hester is an environmental law professor and co-director of UH’s Center for Carbon Management in Energy, and explains the nature of these suits.

“They vary, but generally private citizens and environmental groups either claim that federal or state governments have violated their constitutional rights by failing to protect the climate,” Professor Hester said. “Or that companies should be liable under state tort law for selling fossil fuels without warning about their risk to the global environment.”

Hester gave examples of recent lawsuits. “In Juliana v United States, 21 children and adult plaintiffs have alleged that the United States violated their constitutional right to a stable environment,” he said. “Moreover, a Dutch court has recently found that the government there has to implement more aggressive greenhouse gas reduction efforts.”

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