The Climate Litigation Network works with local partners to bring ground-breaking litigation to compel national governments to adopt ambitious climate plans.

Our story

The Climate Litigation Network (CLN) was established in 2015 following the landmark Urgenda climate case in the Netherlands. The case was the first time globally that a government was ordered to reduce its GHG emissions – representing a watershed moment for the climate justice movement.

To harness the ground-breaking legal strategy and expertise developed in bringing this case, the Urgenda Foundation set up CLN to inspire, incubate and support other cases against governments around the world.

Urgenda

Our focus

Climate change is here now. Ecosystems are collapsing at an unprecedented rate. Vast regions of the world are becoming uninhabitable. Billions of people are facing the prospect of a dangerous and uncertain future. Yet, despite global consensus that we must slash emissions, our governments are failing to protect us.

CLN works with local partners to bring litigation to force governments to adopt Paris-aligned climate plans. There are now over 80 cases against governments around the world.

Climate Case Ireland
Shim Hyun-chul
Giudizio Universale
Talei Elu

Impact

This litigation has a track record of success, leading to real-world emissions reductions and widespread community mobilisation. For example:

The Dutch Climate Case led the Dutch Government to massively reduce its reliance on coal power plants and invest billions in accelerating the energy transition.

The successful Irish Climate Case led to an overhaul of Ireland’s weak climate policy and inspired grassroots mobilisation across the country.

In Germany, the Federal Government significantly ramped up its climate targets, just two weeks after an order from the country’s highest court in the Neubauer Climate Case.

In France, over 2.3 million people signed the petition in support of the French Climate Case – making it the largest online petition in French history.

Following a ruling from the Supreme Court, the Nepalese Government adopted new legislation aimed at fighting climate change while tackling localised environmental damages.

Communities are taking their governments to court – in their own words:

“Our people have lived on these islands for more than 65,000 years. But if the government doesn’t change course, our homes could disappear beneath the rising seas, making us Australia’s first climate change refugees.”
“The truth is that South Korea’s emissions are not falling fast enough, and this is definitely not the best effort the government could be making to save our future.”
“The choices made by the State, disguised as green slogans, continue to perpetrate the same logic of the past years: State climate action has never been comprehensive or consistent in the face of the gravity of the situation.”

Core team

Lucy Maxwell

Co-director

Sarah Mead

Co-director

April Williamson

Senior Legal Associate

Filippo P. Fantozzi

legal associate

Dennis van Berkel

Strategic advisor

News

February 20, 2024

UK ministers in court again over net zero plans

February 13, 2024

How the courts are the new front line in climate change battle

January 11, 2024

Dutch Caribbean islanders sue Netherlands over climate change