Monday, August 19, 2019
Jiangfeng Li has published Climate Change Litigation: A Promising Pathway to Climate Justice in China?, 37 Va. Env. L.J. 132 (2019). Here’s the conclusion:
Climate change litigation has yet to take root in China. However, as this article argues, China can develop climate change litigation to effectively address the serious problem of climate change. Tackling climate change requires a multidimensional governance regime that includes both top-down regulation from government agencies and bottom-up regulation from public participation in judicial or non-judicial activity.
Litigation can be a driving force for an effective response to climate change through the process of the courts applying and interpreting statutes, prods and pleas, and the flow-on regulatory effects of the litigation process. While exploring the regulatory role climate change litigation can play, this article has offered a theoretical prognosis of potential pathways for the emergence of climate change litigation in China. It also discussed the economic, social, historical, and cultural factors currently impeding the development of climate change litigation in China. However, considering China’s domestic concerns about the risks and impacts of climate change and China’s evolving legal framework and social sentiments regarding climate change and environmental litigation, climate change litigation has an opportunity to develop in China.
In light of these factors, this article proposes that China should enact a pro-litigation climate change statute, extend government enforcement litigation to climate change, and enhance public participation and education with respect to climate change regulation. Though there is still considerable uncertainty regarding the future prospects of climate change litigation in China, this article holds an optimistic view that China will gradually become receptive to climate change litigation.