Class Actions and Collective Litigation as Tools for Climate Change Regulation

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date



Collective Litigation, Class Action, Climate Change Loss, Strategies and Reforms


In this chapter, we analyse and evaluate the efficacy of collective litigation in general and class actions in particular as tools to pursue claims for climate change loss and damage. We examine the extent to which relevant international conventions recognise and give legitimacy to litigation as a tool in influencing climate change policy. We then review several threshold climate change cases. They are all collective action cases, but only some are class actions. We use these cases as a lens through which to consider the potential of current and emerging climate change litigation strategies that employ class actions and other forms of collective action. We explain how the challenges of time and money can operate as constraints on climate change litigation. In this context we discuss the rise of commercial litigation funding across common and civil law jurisdictions and we explore the role it might play in advancing climate change class action litigation. We also explain how some jurisdictions have established dedicated public funds to encourage and support public interest class actions. Finally, we identify strategies and reforms that could enhance the efficacy of class actions in the pursuit of climate change loss and damage claims and we note the contributions of completed and ongoing cases to 'shared narrative building' in climate change litigation.