New Paths in Climate Litigation

Date/Time: 23 August 2022, 11:30-12:30
Venue: Kulturhuset and Zoom

Litigation is becoming a central avenue to force policy change to address the climate emergency. Climate related court cases are growing rapidly in numbers and are brought before courts in more and more countries and on the international level. Climate litigation is also expanding with regards to the types of cases, as litigants find new ways to weaponize the law to combat climate related challenges. The emerging recognition of the international crime of ecocide – the extinction of eco-systems – is but one ambitious recent development. This roundtable will discuss some of the ways in which litigation is used as a tool to push climate related policy reform. Particular attention will be put on how litigation is used to force countries to prepare their health system for climate change. A changing climate strains health systems in multiple ways. Rising temperatures, water scarcity, and vector-borne diseases such as malaria reaching into previously cooler climates increase morbidity and mortality and place heavy demands on health services. The impact this has will not be equal for every country. Poorer countries are more at risk – and in all societies, poorer parts of the population carry disproportionate burdens. At the same time, the distribution of health resources generally favors the richer (and on average healthier) parts of the population, adding to the inequalities. As pressures increase, this is likely to lead to a breakdown in essential health services to large parts of the population, as the pandemic demonstrated. Litigation is now undertaken in several countries to push for reform of their health systems to enable it to take on the increasing health challenges, and to do so in a way that is fair to all.

Introductions by: Catalina Vallejo (UiB), Thalia Viveros Uehara (University of Massachusetts) 
Participants: Carlotta Garofalo (University of Graz), Giacomo Giorgini Pignatiello (University of Siena), Felicia Ikpokonte (University of the Witwatersrand), Rafael Hurtado Valdivieso (University of Central Florida) 
Moderator: Siri Gloppen (LawTransform / UiB)

This event is a collaboration with the UiB Centre for Climate and Energy Transformation (CET).