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In 2007 Arnold & Porter (later joined by the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia Law School) compiled and proceeded to update a comprehensive collection of judicial decisions from U.S. courts concerning climate change. Largely drawing on that work, in 2012, Professor David Markell of Florida State University College of Law and Professor J.B. Ruhl of Vanderbilt University Law School published an empirical assessment of climate change litigation in the United States. Since 2011, the Sabin Center has maintained a compilation of climate change cases from outside the United States. Using the categorization methods employed in the Markell and Ruhl study, this paper casts light on the “who, what, why, and how” of climate change litigation and investigates the role of the courts in the development of climate change policy outside of the United States.

This study includes all climate change litigation decisions we have found from all jurisdictions outside of the U.S. through 2013. Cases were only included in the study if climate change played a central role in the issues being considered by the court. Through this process, 173 cases were identified. Cases were then coded by eight factors: (1) type of plaintiff; (2) type of defendant; (3) type of claim being brought; (4) year; (5) jurisdiction; (6) general objective of the litigation; (7) statutes and other legal sources supporting the claims; and (8) the outcome of the cases.


Environmental Law | Law