Environmental lawsuits: how to appeal

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The environmental lawsuits are becoming a fairly common form of struggle. But how to start a legal proceeding?

The reason of the environmental lawsuit

First of all, it is necessary to define the reason. One reason may refer to the lack of action or the  failure of the Government to comply with the stated commitments on the reduction of climate-change emissions. Other reasons may be the non-adoption of effective measures to stop deforestation or the ongoing economic subsidies for the use of fossil fuels, as well as the lack of laws to reduce the atmospheric concentration of CO2 (and other greenhouse gases).We may also mention the fact that the UK Court of Appeal blocked the construction of the third runway at the London’s Heathrow Airport because it violated the obligations taken by the Government when it signed the Paris Climate Agreement (Cop 21 Paris, 2015). There are also several legal actions that can be undertaken to achieve our goal.

The purpose of legal appeals

What can be the purpose of  an appeal? Obviously actions to block an harmful event (for example deforestation), the adoption of laws for the reduction of CO2 emissions, a review of the taxation systems that favor the use of fossil fuel, etc.

Who can help us

Who can the appellant turn to, given that suing the US Government, for example, is no joke. In this regard, on 18 February 2020, the International Bar Association ( IBA), founded in 1947, which is an association of legal professionals, lawyers and international legal companies, published a .pdf document to help the preparation of appeals. It is possible to download it from the IBA website. We read it and it seems to us a very useful document for those who have problems of this type because it helps to overcome bureaucratic problems and legal obstacles that in many countries are really serious.


As a conclusion we may recall the results of a research of some environmental lawyers of the University of California. In their view, in the future legal actions against emission producers will be more effective than actions against the Government or Local Authorities. Indeed, single individuals or companies are more likely to eventually collaborate in troubleshooting, also to protect their image, while the Public Authorities tend to carry on the situations. A possible refund could be used to mitigate climate-change emissions. An example is the lawsuit Country of San Mateo vs. Chevron Corporation. As you can see, oil companies are always around.