Litigating Loss and Damage as a Panacea for Abatement of Climate Change

Emmanuel Onyeabor, Helen Agu, Ngozi Joan Nwanta


In this era of pursuit of sustainable development climate change has been recognized as a global threat as it transcends boundaries in its causes and effects. Much of the aggravated increases in global climate are attributable to human activities. It becomes imperative that change in human behaviour and consequently control of such aggravating factors can safely be achieved through law and legal regulation. Climate change litigation is, in large part, a multi-pronged attempt by individuals, groups, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and governments, to use the instrumentalities of the court to pressurize industrial greenhouse gas emitters and the government to reduce or regulate greenhouse gas emission. This paper advocates that the judiciary can be an appropriate forum for resolving issues surrounding the harm caused by global warming and climate change. It examines the rationale as well as the prospects of using the judiciary as a means of achieving a sustainable management of the climate system. It proffers strategies that will make litigation a viable option in abatement of climate change and in the resolution of disputes arising from the impact of global climate change. The concludes that  an effective climate change advocacy demands for legal practitioners, environmental consultants and regulatory personnel who are competent, sufficiently well-informed and motivated to drive both the spirit and letter of the policies and other legal instruments through the court system.

Key words: litigation; loss and damage; abatement; judiciary; sustainable development; greenhouse gas emitters.

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