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You will find a complete range of our monographs, muti-authored and edited works including peer-reviewed, original scholarly research across the social sciences and aligned disciplines. We publish long and short form research and you can browse the complete Bristol University Press and Policy Press archive of over 1600 titles.

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Books: Research

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As the study of climate change litigation continues to emerge as a scholarly field, the conversation about the characteristics of litigation in Global South countries is still nascent. The meaning and identity of climate litigation, and the scholarly response to it, are mostly shaped around the priorities and pressures of Global North countries. But why does pursuing, and asserting, an African identity of climate litigation matter? The answer to this question lies in an understanding of what it means to pursue a ‘global’ endeavour, but also in an understanding of the dignity of African scholars, practitioners and activists in the face of the climate crisis.

This book spans a range of approaches and jurisdictions and aims to make a relevant yet lasting volume of reflective contributions both in relation to transnational, regional and local climate litigation scholarship, but also to our understanding of the plural nature of climate justice and climate governance. This chapter introduces the authors and the main themes of the book.

Open access

In Nigeria, many citizens are quite vulnerable to the negative impacts of climate change. This has been exacerbated by a plethora of factors not limited to poverty, the activities of multinational oil and gas companies and endemic environmental injustice issues in many parts of the country, especially the Niger Delta region (wherein the oil and gas industry is located). The impacts of climate change will have negative consequences on Nigerians (especially in the Niger Delta).

This chapter relies on climate justice as its analytical lens. Climate justice initiatives can be used to improve access to justice and protect climate change victims in Nigeria. The chapter also highlights some of the recent reforms or initiatives by the Nigerian government in improving climate justice in the country. This chapter discusses the potential of climate change litigation in Nigeria as one of the strategies that can be used in ventilating climate justice issues in the country. In concluding, this chapter proffers some recommendations on how climate litigation can help to protect the victims of climate change in Nigeria.

Open access

Climate change displacement litigation within the context of human rights and refugee law is severely lacking on the African continent. This chapter points to a gap in the current regional legal architecture for affording long lasting and enduring – or even temporary – legal safeguards to those individuals and communities affected by environmental or climate change-induced displacement and migration. There is an increasing need to formulate mechanisms and systems that can bridge this protection gap, particularly as climate displacement and migration is and will continue to affect the entire the Africa region. The chapter argues that this can be achieved through the adoption of universally applicable human rights standards, and a human rights-based approach that takes into account and recognizes environmental or climate change-induced migration and forced human displacement as a legitimate basis for extending refugee law-based protections to the affected individuals. The chapter concludes that the African region needs to develop and extend the reach of refugee law using human rights-based approaches in order to make effective climate change displacement strategic litigation.

Open access

Climate change litigation is growing around the world in general and in common law African countries in particular, but there is no ‘trend’ of climate cases in civil law African countries. This chapter presents the causes that limit the development of climate change litigation in civil law African countries – but it also highlights the civil society organizations that aim to further climate justice.

The chapter focuses on Cameroon in the Congo Basin. It shows the legal obstacles that prevent the development of climate litigation and the potentialities that exist. From the research it appears that access to justice is restricted in Cameroon, as standing is conditional and so only some legal entities can bring environmental cases. However, civil society organizations are doing important work on the ground to protect the environment and contribute to climate justice through advocacy and monitoring of natural resources management. Even though climate litigation could be brought by entities like decentralized public collectives, the monitoring and advocacy work done by civil society organizations to enhance climate justice in Cameroon should not be overlooked.

Open access

EPDF and EPUB available Open Access under CC-BY-NC-ND licence.

In recent years, climate litigation has become an important subject of global scholarly and policy interest. However, developments within the Global South, particularly in Africa, have been largely neglected.

This volume brings together an international team of contributors to provide a much-needed examination of climate litigation in Africa. The book outlines how climate litigation in Africa is distinct as well as pinpointing where it connects with the global conversation. Chapters engage with crucial themes such as human rights approaches to climate governance, corporate liability and the role of gender in climate litigation.

Spanning a range of approaches and jurisdictions, the book challenges universal concepts around climate and the role of activism (including litigation) in seeking to advance climate governance.

Open access
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This chapter explores climate change cases from South Africa and Nigeria through a legal opportunity structures (LOS) lens. Understanding the effects of LOS is critical for sustaining climate litigation momentum across countries. Further, the academic literature on climate litigation hardly covers gender issues, even though women’s vulnerability to adverse climate change impacts and limited access to resources for adaptation are widely acknowledged. The receptivity of the existing LOS to women’s unique experiences affects their ability to engage in climate litigation and prospects for accessing climate justice through the courts. The chapter, therefore, undertakes a gender-sensitive analysis of the relevant literature, laws and decisions of courts from South Africa and Nigeria to conceptualize the LOS for climate litigation.

Open access
Author:

Globally, climate change litigation is growing and court decisions delivered in the Global North, as opposed to the Global South, have gained international attention. Among these prominent court decisions, the Dutch decision in the Urgenda case is heralded as the first decision in the world where a government was held responsible by its citizens to prevent dangerous climate change based on inter alia human rights grounds. But what about climate change court decisions on the other side of the globe, in South Africa specifically, such as the cases of Earthlife Africa and Deadly Air? What is the relevance of these judgments to systemic climate change litigation? What do these cases tell us about the current South African approach to rights-based climate change litigation? Can these South African judgments also be heralded as preventing and mitigating dangerous climate change in the same vein as the Urgenda decision? Is it possible to say that the Dutch and South African approach to climate change litigation indicates two different roads to the same destination of human-rights based climate change litigation? Answers to these questions and others make up this contribution to the discussion on the development of climate change litigation across the two contrasting jurisdictions of the Netherlands and South Africa.

Open access
Author:

Climate change poses a considerable threat to Africa’s population. As drought and heatwaves are projected to intensify by 2050, present and future generations will be more susceptible for two reasons. First, they will live to bear the brunt of severe weather events. Second, they lack the capacity to cope with the socio-economic challenges that might arise. Despite the plethora of literature urging sustainable environmental practices, a growing number of states pursue policies or are complicit in practices that exacerbate the impact of climate change. In consequence, some indigenes continue to explore lawsuits as means to trigger more sustainable policies and practices. The golden thread running through these cases, though tacitly stated, is the obligation of states to promote intergenerational equity. Given the lack of political will of governments to rapidly pursue eco-friendly practices, the chapter observes that intergenerational equity, if well-articulated, could be an important rallying point around which climate activists could press for their rights and that of their descendants in courtrooms. Keeping that in mind, this chapter provides an overarching conceptualization of intergenerational equity through which activists could draw from and apply to climate litigation.

Open access

As the study of climate change litigation continues to emerge as a scholarly field, the conversation about the characteristics of litigation in Global South countries is still nascent. The meaning and identity of climate litigation, and the scholarly response to it, are mostly shaped around the priorities and pressures of Global North countries. But why does pursuing, and asserting, an African identity of climate litigation matter? The answer to this question lies in an understanding of what it means to pursue a ‘global’ endeavour, but also in an understanding of the dignity of African scholars, practitioners and activists in the face of the climate crisis.

This volume is a collection of scholarly reflections on the theme of climate litigation in Africa. The book spans a range of approaches and jurisdictions and aims to make a relevant yet lasting volume of reflective contributions both in relation to transnational, regional and local climate litigation scholarship, but also to our understanding of the plural nature of climate justice and climate governance.

Open access

The Mediterranean and North Africa are among the areas that are severely affected by climate change. Such climate fluctuation clearly threatens ecosystems and the entire development process. Consequently, Mediterranean and North African countries have been obliged to review environmental protection laws and include climate change as a new dimension. Morocco is one of the most proactive countries in this regard. It has been actively engaged in reviewing its public environmental policies and has successfully incorporated the climate dimension. The country's efforts aim to combat global warming, mitigate climate change, and promote climate adaptation Morocco’s choice of the legal framework comes from the fact that legislation plays an important role to protect the environment, especially with the endless threats brought by climate change.

This chapter assesses the new Moroccan legal texts that address climate change issues. It also analyses the role of public and private actors involved in the process of implementing the legal framework and highlights the factors that are limiting the development of climate litigation in Morocco.

Findings reveal that the implementation of these laws remains a major challenge. They also show that despite Morocco's considerable legislative effort to adapt to climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions the legislative system alone cannot succeed in this challenge. To achieve the goal of protecting the environment and addressing climate change requires a society and judiciary that are aware of the challenges at hand and capable of implementing legal texts in all instances.

Open access