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  • Australia has the second-highest level of climate change litigation activity worldwide, after the United States.
  • A new briefing paper from the Law Society of NSW considers the trends, key cases and future directions in climate change litigation.

In July 2021, while all eyes were on the Olympic Games in Tokyo, a report from the London School of Economics awarded Australia a podium result in a very different arena: climate change litigation.

The report, by the university’s Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, analysed climate change litigation globally since 1986. It found that outside the United States, Australia had recorded the highest level of climate change litigation activity, with 121 cases as of 31 May 2021.

Experts have suggested several reasons for Australia’s position on the climate change litigation leader board. These include Australia’s sophisticated and independent legal institutions, high profile international cases, the adoption of the Paris Agreement, advances in climate change science, and the severe climate change impacts in the region.

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