On November 15, 2022, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) published a press release providing an overview of its 2022 enforcement activities. The SEC stated that it had filed 760 enforcement actions in fiscal year 2022, which was a 9% increase from last year. The civil penalties, disgorgement, and pre-judgment interest ordered in SEC actions were $6.44 billion, the most in the SEC’s history and almost double the amount from fiscal year 2021. Of the total money ordered, civil penalties, which totaled $4.194 billion, were the highest on record.

Continue Reading ESG continues to be a SEC enforcement focus

On 25 August, 2022, the Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility (“ACCR”) expanded its case against the Australian gas company, Santos Ltd. (“Santos”), with new and more detailed allegations around greenwashing.

Last year, ACCR filed a consumer protection lawsuit with the Federal Court of Australia regarding certain misleading or deceptive statements Santos

Litigation is increasingly being used as a means of advancing – or delaying – effective climate action.

As discussed in our recent legal update on the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment’s 2021 Global Trends in Climate Change Litigation Policy Report (the “2021 Report“), between 2015 and 2021, there was a marked increase in the number of such climate-related cases being brought against private sector actors.  This reflects the growing recognition by prospective litigants of litigation as an effective means of influencing the actions private sector actors are taking to address climate change.

Most recently, the London School of Economics’ Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment’s 2022 Global Trends in Climate Change Litigation Policy Report (the “2022 Report“) confirms that litigation against private sector actors continues to expand as an avenue for climate action.  We discuss the trends identified in the 2022 Report in this blog post.

Continue Reading The Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment publishes its 2022 global trends in climate litigation report

On 1 July 2022, the Brazilian Supreme Court issued a ruling on ADPF 708 (Ação de Descumprimento de Preceito Fundamental), which is another climate litigation case under the court’s scrutiny (please read here and here for more information about other climate litigation cases submitted to the Brazilian Supreme Court). In summary, political parties filed ADPF 708 in June 2020, claiming the Brazilian Federal Administration had not taken appropriate measures to ensure allocation and use of funds from the Brazilian Climate Fund, which is supposed to play an important role in “climate financing”, pursuant to the Paris Agreement, by supporting climate change mitigation projects in Brazil.

Continue Reading BRAZILIAN SUPREME COURT RECOGNIZES THE PARIS AGREEMENT AS A HUMAN RIGHTS TREATY

On June 30, 2022, the U.S. Supreme Court decided West Virginia et al. v. Environmental Protection Agency, holding that the EPA lacks authority under Section 7411(d) of the Clean Air Act to limit greenhouse gas emissions from power plants through “generation shifting,” i.e., increasing the use of cleaner energy sources like wind and

On June 21, 2022, an NGO filed a first-of-its-kind climate change lawsuit against an investment bank in Brazil. Among other claims, the NGO asserts that the bank allegedly maintains equity positions in sectors considered to be the most carbon-intensive, and, based on such allegation, the plaintiff asks the court to compel the bank to prepare

Climate-related litigation is increasingly being used as a tool to hold companies and governments to account over their contributions to climate change.  According to the Grantham Institute’s 2021 Global Trends in Climate Change Litigation Policy Report (the “Report”), the number of climate-related cases has more than doubled since 2015: between 1986 and 2014, approximately

In a previous blog post that can be read here, we provided an overview on how – for the first time – the Brazilian Supreme Court had trial sessions scheduled in connection with several climate litigation cases, starting on 30 March 2022, covering ADIs (Ação Direta de Inconstitucionalidade), ADOs (Ação Direta de Inconstitucionalidade por Omissão) and ADPFs (Ação de Descumprimento de Preceito Fundamental), all of which are types of lawsuits that seek to address Constitutional violations. Two months later, five lawsuits of the so-called Supreme Court’s “green agenda” have gone through trial and three have been ruled on.

Continue Reading Climate Litigation and the Brazilian Supreme Court: A Follow-Up on the “Green Agenda” and the Trial Sessions That Took Place in April and May

Amidst the recent uptrend of climate litigation cases in Brazil, the Brazilian Supreme Court has scheduled for March 30, 2022 a trial session covering several different lawsuits involving the protection of the environment and effects on climate change. This is an important milestone for the Brazilian climate litigation landscape, as this is the first time a Supreme Court session will be exclusively dedicated to climate-themed cases.

Continue Reading Brazilian Supreme Court Climate Litigation Day: Justices to Decide Several Climate Litigation Cases on March 30

The recent publication, on 27 February 2022, of the second instalment to the Sixth Assessment Report of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (“IPCC“) did not receive the same degree of attention as the first instalment in August 2021.  The findings, and message, of the second instalment, are no less severe, or potentially consequential, however, delivering as it does, the “bleakest warning yet” of the impacts of climate change.

The first instalment, developed by the IPCC’s Working Group I, focused on the physical science basis of climate change.  The second instalment, developed by the IPCC’s Working Group II, assesses the impacts of climate change, looking at ecosystems, biodiversity and human communities at global and regional levels.

The findings of the IPCC are, of course, deeply troubling in many respects, and the implications of those findings are likely to be extensive.  One area in which those implications are likely to be felt is that of climate litigation.  As explored in our previous article, the science based findings of the IPCC have played a role in affirming international legal standards on climate change and establishing the link between emissions and climate change, thereby – in some respects – strengthening the cases of climate litigants who may previously have encountered difficulties in establishing causation.  The ever-increasing urgency of the climate crisis, and the willingness – and ability – of stakeholders to use litigation to compel action to address that crisis, will continue to be features of the landscape as attention focuses on the IPCC’s findings.

Continue Reading Climate Change Litigation: the IPCC’s latest Report links climate change to loss and damage