Climate lawsuits undermined by a failure to utilize scientific evidence

The lawyers litigating climate-related lawsuits aren’t keeping up with the science, according to a new survey, hindering their ability to hold governments and corporations accountable.

The new research, published in the journal Nature Climate Change, highlights the disconnect between progress in the field of climate science and the legal, economic and political efforts to slow climate change.

The overwhelming majority of climate scientists agree that the evidence of human-caused climate change is iron clad as decades of greenhouse gas emissions have dramatically warmed Earth’s climate.

But while the scientific consensus around global warming was reached decades ago, each year, as new studies are completed and published, the impacts of this phenomenon — stronger storms, prolonged droughts, rapidly melting glaciers — have become clearer and more certain.

Unfortunately, according to a new review of climate litigation cases, lawyers aren’t utilizing the most-up-to-date science — science that could aid their lawsuits.

Since 1980, more than 1,500 climate-related lawsuits have been filed all over the world, some of them high profile suits brought against major oil companies like Exxon-Mobil.

To better understand how these cases are being litigated, researchers at the University of Oxford looked at the use of scientific evidence in 73 cases being litigated across 14 different jurisdictions.

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