When lawyers and insurance companies are both pushing something, you better reach for your wallet.
Climate change: Dogs of law are off the leash
By Richard Ingham (AFP) – 8 hours ago
PARIS — From being a marginal and even mocked issue, climate-change litigation is fast emerging as a new frontier of law where some believe hundreds of billions of dollars are at stake.
Compensation for losses inflicted by man-made global warming would be jaw-dropping, a payout that would make tobacco and asbestos damages look like pocket money.
Imagine: a country or an individual could get redress for a drought that destroyed farmland, for floods and storms that created an army of refugees, for rising seas that wiped a small island state off the map.
In the past three years, the number of climate-related lawsuits has ballooned, filling the void of political efforts in tackling greenhouse-gas emissions.
Eyeing the money-spinning potential, some major commercial law firms now place climate-change litigation in their Internet shop window.
Seminars on climate law are often thickly attended by corporations that could be in the firing line — and by the companies that insure them.
But legal experts sound a note of caution, warning that this is a new and mist-shrouded area of justice.
Many obstacles lie ahead before a Western court awards a cent in climate damages and even more before the award is upheld on appeal.
“There’s a large number of entrepreneurial lawyers and NGOs who are hunting around for a way to gain leverage on the climate problem,” said David Victor, director of the Laboratory on International Law and Regulation at the University of California at San Diego.
“The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyer.”
– Shakespeare – Henry VI