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Climate Change Litigation: Juliana v. U.S., Constitutional Claims, International Cases, Corporate Fraud

Recording of a 90-minute CLE webinar with Q&A

This program is included with the Strafford CLE Pass. Click for more information.
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Conducted on Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Recorded event now available

or call 1-800-926-7926

This CLE course will provide environmental, constitutional, and civil rights counsel with an overview of climate change litigation in the U.S. and abroad while addressing the holdings of the Juliana vs. U.S. decision and the state of environmental rights litigation.The panel will further look at litigation as a tool to achieve outcomes consistent with a net-zero emissions future and public and private party defenses against climate change claims.


Climate-related litigation is rising rapidly in the U.S. and internationally. In January 2020, the Ninth Circuit dismissed the claim in the high-profile Juliana litigation. The youth plaintiffs alleged, through the federal government's affirmative actions that cause climate change, it has violated the youngest generation’s constitutional rights to life, liberty, and property, as well as failed to protect essential public trust resources.

The Ninth Circuit concluded that Article III courts do not have the authority to order the U.S. to prepare and implement an enforceable national remedial plan to phase out fossil fuel emissions. The majority opinion concluded, "... any effective plan would necessarily require a host of complex policy decisions entrusted, for better or worse, to the wisdom and discretion of the executive and legislative branches."

In Ireland, the Netherlands, and the Philippines, claimants sought to enforce environmental protection in courts, asserting constitutional and human rights violations under international treaties.

In Ireland, the Supreme Court overturned the Government’s "excessively vague and aspirational" plan to combat climate change, ruling the National Mitigation Plan (2017-2022) lacks specificity and does not comply with Ireland's obligations under the Climate Action and Low Carbon Development Act2015 to give sufficient detail about achieving the national-transition objective of a low-carbon economy by the end of 2050.

Dutch courts ruled The Netherlands must reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by at least 25 percent compared with 1990 levels by the end of 2020. The Commission on Human Rights of the Philippines ruled that, while current international human rights law does not address legal responsibility for climate change, major fossil fuel companies are morally obligated to respect human rights under the U.N. Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.

Although constitutional and human rights environmental claims have historically failed in U.S. courts, there are pending claims against BPD and Exxon based on corporate fraud and the defendants' failure to disclose the scope and limits of renewable energy. All stakeholders in the climate change debate must be on top of worldwide current climate change litigation and outcomes to prepare, assert, or defend against lawsuits.

Listen as our authoritative panel reviews the current status and future prospects of climate change litigation.



  1. Recent history in climate change litigation
  2. Juliana
    1. Ruling
    2. Appeal options
  3. International cases: constitutional and human rights claims
    1. Netherlands
    2. Philippines
    3. U.N. Convention on Human Rights of the Child
  4. Corporate fraud claims
    1. BP
    2. Exxon
  5. Future of climate change litigation


The panel will review these and other relevant topics:

  • How does the ruling in Juliana impact the future of climate change litigation in the U.S.?
  • What are lessons from international rulings on climate change regulation and laws?
  • How can companies defend against claims related to corporate fraud or failure to disclose in the realm of climate change litigation?


Gregory, Philip
Philip L. (Phil) Gregory

Gregory Law Group

Mr. Gregory's 40-year practice emphasizes complex business, real estate, and environmental litigation, including...  |  Read More

Mank, Bradford
Bradford C. Mank

Professor of Law
University of Cincinnati College of Law

Mr. Mank teaches environmental, administrative and property law. He was in private practice, focusing on environmental...  |  Read More

Rodgers, Andrea
Andrea Rodgers

Senior Litigation Attorney
Our Children's Trust

Ms. Rodgers' practice has focused on reducing pollution from industrial agricultural operations, protecting and...  |  Read More

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