The law is the principal mechanism by which society resolves disputes and implements policies. For more than forty years, I have worked to use the law to address environmental problems, initially by trying to stop projects that would increase pollution and harm communities. But there are limits to what the courts can do without explicit direction from legislatures. Climate change is a prime example. Some have seen litigation as a silver bullet, but at least so far that has not been the case. Elections matter more than lawsuits. Until and unless elections bring to power a president, a Congress, and local officials who will take the necessary measures, litigation is needed to inhibit those who will try to move backwards, spur on those with good intentions, help implement the policies set by wise Congresses past, and continue the quest for redress for victims. Well-crafted laws can also lead the way to solutions.
Environmental Law | Law
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Sabin Center for Climate Change Law
Michael B. Gerrard,
An Environmental Lawyer's Fraught Quest for Legal Tools to Hold Back the Seas,
Available at: https://scholarship.law.columbia.edu/faculty_scholarship/2883