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The Role of Science in Climate Change Litigation: International Workshop

Ivano Alogna, Dr Christine Bakker, Dr Jean-Pierre Gauci

Event Report

The Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies (SSSA, Pisa), the British Institute of International and Comparative Law (BIICL, London), and the Center for Climate Change Studies and Sustainable Actions (3CSA, Pisa/Pavia) co-organised an international workshop on "The Role of Science in Climate Change Litigation" on 14-15 July 2021. The workshop was integrated in the Seasonal School on Climate Change and International Law: Interdisciplinary Perspectives held from 12 to 16 July 2021 at the SSSA. The event was also listed as one of the "All4Climate - Italy 2021 " initiatives of the Italian Ministry of Ecological Transition, which aims to promote 2021 as the Year of Climate Ambition.

Climate change litigation is rapidly spreading, with more than 1800 cases filed so far around the globe. Increasingly, climate science has been playing a crucial role in these cases, providing supporting evidence and helping to address issues such as 'attribution' and 'risk assessment'. Initiatives such as this workshop give the opportunity of the two communities of legal and scientific experts, to discuss inter-related issues, and to identify how science can further play a role in climate change litigation. They can also help, for example, to clarify existing legal obligations of States and private actors to prevent or respond to climate change.

Discussions were organised in four panels, which focused on the following topics:

  • Perspectives from Climate Science
  • Perspectives from Law: Crosscutting Issues
  • The Role of Science in National Climate Litigation
  • The Role of Science in International Environmental and Climate Change Litigation

This event was organised and convened by Roberto Buizza, Professor of Physics, SSSA, and Director, 3CSA; Christine Bakker, Visiting Research Fellow, BIICL and Visiting Lecturer, SSSA; Ivano Alogna, Arthur Watts Research Fellow in Environmental and Climate Change Law, BIICL, and Jean-Pierre Gauci, Arthur Watts Senior Research Fellow in Public International Law and Director of Teaching and Training, BIICL.

The present report provides a summary of the discussion and synthesises some of the main conclusions of the four panels, as well as the introductory remarks and the concluding discussion. When citing extracts from this report, please provide a full reference as mentioned above (p. 2).

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