May 22, 2023
10:00am - 11:30am    |    Wilf Conference Room 5th Floor, Wilf Hall

We encourage in-person participation, please RSVP here. If you are unable to make the in-person event, please find the following Zoom Link.

Dr. Noah Walker-Crawford is a Research Fellow in Political Science at University College London. He is a publicly engaged researcher on climate litigation. His work focuses on the knowledges and notions of responsibility at stake in discussions about climate change. He researches climate litigation from a socio-legal and anthropological perspective, exploring how legal activism reframes climate politics.

Join us for an informal conversation with Noah as he presents his research findings in his article in progress titled, “Save the climate but don’t blame us: Corporate responses to climate litigation”

Abstract: In recent litigation against major greenhouse gas emitters over their contribution to climate change, fossil fuel companies are no longer denying anthropogenic climate change. Rather, they question the validity of climate science for establishing legal responsibility. This article offers an analysis of corporate defendants’ evidentiary arguments in four climate change lawsuits. I develop a typology of major emitters’ evidentiary defenses against climate litigation. Linking the cases to theoretical discussions about legal evidentiary standards and the use of climate science in the courtroom, I examine the defendants’ efforts to obfuscate the role of individual emitters, invalidate scientific proof and attack researchers’ credibility. My analysis indicates that the interpretation of evidentiary standards will likely shape the outcome of climate litigation going forward. I find that plaintiffs’ and defendants’ legal narratives and factual claims are linked to broader concerns about who should take responsibility for climate change. Like all knowledge, climate science is inherently value-imbued, emerging in relation to policymakers’ demands, public concerns and researchers’ own worries about global warming. While climate science on its own does not provide all the answers, it serves as a crucial tool for addressing legal and political questions about responsibility and justice in a warming world.


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