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

The pressure on States and corporates to take action to address the socio-economic and environmental impacts of climate change is rapidly increasing. This pressure has resulted in a substantial rise in the number of climate change-related disputes. Although many of these disputes have thus far been brought before national courts, arbitration is likely to become an increasingly important method for resolving climate change-related disputes in the near future, since these disputes are often of an international nature and may benefit from the use of a neutral forum. In particular, there is likely to be an increase in climate change-related investment treaty arbitration, given the rising influence of climate change in the investment treaty landscape. This will bring into focus a variety of considerations affecting investments which are subject to the protection of one or more investment treaties.

Continue Reading Climate Change and Investment Treaty Arbitration

While climate litigation against private actors in Brazil has been gaining more attention and employing creative legal strategies, as we have already commented here and here, litigation against the government is also keeping pace, as illustrated by a recent case filed against the Brazilian Federal Government and the Ministry of Environment.

On October 26, just a week before the Glasgow Climate Change Conference (COP26), 70 NGOs led by Observatório do Clima filed a public civil action claiming that the current Brazilian National Policy on Climate Change, set forth by Law no. 12,187/2009, is inadequate and unable to provide a response to the current climate crisis. As such, the plaintiffs require that the policy be updated with new commitments, effectively fit to contribute in the fight against climate change.

Continue Reading Climate Litigation in Brazil: New Developments in Seeking Government Action Towards More Ambitious Legislation

Just months after we discussed a recent climate lawsuit filed in Brazil against a rural landowner due to alleged illegal deforestation in the Amazon, a new chapter in Brazilian climate litigation unfolds and reinforces the trend of climate change lawsuits against public and private entities. In this Blog Post, we take a look at this new precedent and how it further impacts climate change discussions in the context of carbon-intensive activities.

Continue Reading Climate Litigation in Brazil: New Lawsuit Seeks to Bring Climate Change Discussions to the Core of Environmental Licensing of Carbon-Intensive Activities

On August 25, 2021, the Environmental Defenders Office (EDO), acting on behalf of the Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility (ACCR), filed a consumer protection lawsuit with the Federal Court of Australia in respect of certain ESG related statements made in a gas company’s 2020 Annual Report (the Report).

This is the first lawsuit in the world that challenges the veracity of a company’s net zero emissions target, and in relation to the viability of carbon capture and storage and the environmental impacts of hydrogen as an energy source, increasingly touted as the key elements in gas companies’ pathways toward net zero emissions.

Continue Reading World-first Lawsuit Over Clean Energy and Zero Emissions Claims

The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Sixth Assessment Report (“IPCC Report“), published on 9 August 2021, delivered the starkest warning to date that human activity is responsible for significant changes in the Earth’s climate.  The attention of the world’s scientific, political, and business communities, and of society at large, is increasingly focused