Climate court cases undermine democracy, harm the poor and sidetrack us from smarter ways to fix the climate
Despite intense climate worries, electorates have been unwilling to spend the trillions needed to cut emissions dramatically. That is why climate campaigners have increasingly pursued a new strategy: forcing climate policy through courts.
Across the world, the UN now counts at least 1,550 such climate cases in 38 countries, including several in Canada, often filed by young people invoking a fear for their future.
Unfortunately, such cases undermine democracy, harm the poor and sidetrack us from smarter ways to fix the climate.
Since the beginning of climate negotiations, it has been hard to compel governments to make large promises and deliver on them. The UN estimated just before COVID that despite immense climate focus, the world’s actual emissions were indistinguishable from a world without climate policy.
This is because strong climate policy is enormously expensive and delivers minuscule climate benefits. U.S. President Joe Biden has promised to spend $500 billion annually on climate policy.
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