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The Climate Litigation Accelerator (CLX) – placed within the Earth Rights Advocacy Clinic and NYU Law’s Center for Human Rights and Global Justice – is a global collaborative hub that nourishes, catalyzes, and disseminates the ideas, tools, strategies, and partnerships needed to secure urgent and ambitious action on the climate emergency.

 

As a field catalyst, CLX coalesces the climate change and human rights field, connects its participants, and facilitates interdisciplinary dialogue – all with an eye towards adding coherence to the field and improving its overall efficacy.

 

Moreover, CLX recognizes the complexity of the challenges posed by the climate crisis. Indeed, climate change is not one problem, but rather a bundle of interconnected problems that includes mitigation, adaptation, loss and damage, and climate finance. For that reason, the topical and regional scope of CLX’s work is broad and crosses traditional disciplinary lines.

 

CLX’s Strategic Aims

Develop, nourish, disseminate, and catalyze the ideas, tools, strategies, and partnerships necessary speed up and scale global climate litigation. CLX achieves this through strategic lawsuits and advocacy, sociolegal research, case workshops, capacity building, and its global community of practice.

 

Create public goods for the climate litigation field. Public goods can have a catalyzing effect, helping to accelerate the rate at which different actors can learn from others and implement relevant lessons.

 

Facilitate the sharing of interdisciplinary knowledge and regional perspectives, which strengthens the climate litigation field and helps bridge the Global North-South divide within the field. In service of this strategic aim, CLX acts as a connector – of organizations, peoples, and ideas.

 

Serve as a catalyst for the climate change and human rights field. CLX is driven by an awareness of the urgency of the climate challenge. Time is of the essence. CLX is fundamentally concerned with speeding up impactful litigation and legal actions that can produce results in the short to medium-term. Our activities also accelerate the development of the field, working to ensure that it is capable of responding quickly and effectively to the challenges posed by climate change.

 

Support youth advocates and climate defenders, especially in the Global South. CLX’s theory of change understands that, without direct and urgent grassroots mobilization, legal victories will not attain the legitimacy, scale, and speed that are needed to address the climate emergency. We thus act as key partners and sources of strategic and legal support for the global climate movement and climate defenders, with an emphasis on activists based in the Global South.

CLX Activities

 

To carry out its mission, CLX engages in seven primary activities:

  1. Strategic litigation, legal actions, and advocacy;
  2. Climate action incubation;
  3. Sociolegal research;
  4. Capacity building;
  5. The Global Community of Practice;
  6. Movement building through legal support for youth climate activists and climate defenders; and
  7. Targeted research, legal actions, and network building on loss and damage.

Although CLX is focused on legal actions, its approach to strategic litigation and legal advocacy has been informed by a holistic understanding of social change that is centrally concerned with creating mutually supportive relations between litigation and other tactics.

 

Moreover, CLX recognizes the complexity of the challenges posed by the climate crisis. Indeed, climate change is not one problem, but rather a bundle of interconnected problems that includes mitigation, adaptation, loss and damage, and climate finance. For that reason, the topical and regional scope of CLX’s work is broad and crosses traditional disciplinary lines.

Case Study

Litigating Inaction: The Case to Preserve Funding to Save the Amazon

Jair Bolsonaro, the populist Brazilian leader, rose to power on, among other things, an explicitly anti-environment platform. He promised to dismantle the environmental frameworks and programs that protect Brazil’s vital ecosystems, and when he secured the presidency in 2019, his administration began at breakneck speed to do just that. The demolition of environmental frameworks, programs, [...]

Jacqueline Gallant
Blog

The (Science) Fiction of Human Rights

How a particular kind of science fiction resonates with a wide audience and can enrich human rights thinking and practice

César Rodríguez-Garavito
Blog

The Doughnut Approach: How to Climatize Human Rights

If human rights are to remain relevant in the Anthropocene, budding theoretical, doctrinal, and advocacy efforts from within the field to address the climate emergency need to be deepened and expanded.

César Rodríguez-Garavito
Blog

The Eight-Year Decade That Will Determine the Fate of the Planet and Human Rights

If slowing climate change is a game, how is it going and what’s left to accomplish?

César Rodríguez-Garavito
Blog

Conflicting Rights and Competing Claims: Biodiversity Litigation in India

The examination of multiple court cases in India reveal the conflicting rights of species, forest-dwellers, and biodiversity. These competing claims to forest and biodiversity conservation shed light on how courts can develop a nascent jurisprudence of balancing them.

Arpitha Kodiveri
Blog

The Climate Fight Needs Imagination—Using the Tariff Act of 1930 to Fight Climate Change

The Human Rights and Climate Change movement should make use of less conspicuous tools, like the administrative agency, and forms of exploitation as a way of targeting corporations in the climate change fight.

Melina De Bona
Blog

Enough Symbolism, We Need Real Climate Action: Why We Shouldn’t Let Governments Hide Behind Symbolic Climate Emergency Declarations

Though symbolic climate emergency declarations can helpfully shape the narrative around climate change, advocates shouldn’t let them be used to mask government failures to take material action to combat the climate crisis.

Jacqueline Gallant
Blog

The Taint of Slavery in the Brazilian Beef Industry

In 2020, the United States re-opened its borders to Brazilian beef imports, three years after banning them due to health and safety concerns. While the safety of fresh beef from Brazil may have improved, these imports remain tainted – by both slave labor and deforestation.

Erik Woodward and Joe DelGrande
Blog

Fauna, Flora…and Funga: The Case for the Protection of Fungi Under National and International Law

Fungi are the Earth’s connective tissue and are crucial for human health and well-being. Yet, they have largely been ignored in international and national environmental law and policy. International negotiations this year provide an opportunity to fix this.

César Rodríguez-Garavito and Jacqueline Gallant
Blog

Breaking Through the Climate Gridlock with Citizen Power

Why climate advocates are increasingly turning to citizens’ assemblies to remedy governments’ sluggishness on climate change.

César Rodríguez-Garavito and Jackie Gallant
Blog

From Barbuda to the World: Love (and Peace and Happiness) in the Time of Climate Emergency

Barbuda is a microcosm of larger trends and issues from climate-induced displacement and disaster capitalism, to the greenwashing of policies that undermine climate resilience.

César Rodríguez-Garavito and Elizabeth Donger