Law & Order meets the climate crisis as we dig into the stories behind the hundreds of climate cases around the globe.


June 7, 2022 22 min
I have been wondering for months what possible sense it makes for every right-wing think tank to have an amicus program. I mean...is any judge really surprised to learn that the Cato Institute is against regulation? But these are not folks who spend money on things for no reason, and the presence and size of amicus programs at conservative "public interest" law firms and think tanks have been growing exponentially over the ...
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In many of the countries where some of the world's largest climate cases are unfolding, the legal system looks very different than it does in the former English colonies. In much of Europe and Latin America, for example, the Roman system dominates and it works very differently, with judges gathering their own evidence in cases. Another key difference? Reliance on precedent in common law countries like the U.S. ... a topic that&...
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Compensation for climate change has been a hot topic at the UN since the early 90s. For countries already experiencing what the UN calls loss and damage the main goal has always been to prevent more damage. But fossil fuel lobbyists had different ideas. Now a new IPCC report gives evidence that could influence what happens at the UN and in court cases around the world.
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Juliana v United States was one of the first big youth climate cases, and it has inspired several others. In 2021, it looked like the case was dead in the water, but it's back now with one more shot... and a new Netflix documentary on the case too! (Check out Youth v Gov here: https://www.netflix.com/title/81586492)
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April 28, 2022 41 min
A clause in most free trade agreements and investment treaties obligates countries to engage in a process known as international arbitration if there's a dispute with a foreign company. It was meant to assure companies that their investments in especially less developed countries were safe, but in recent years it's become a way to punish governments for passing environmental regulations.
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April 21, 2022 27 min
With an internationally accepted definition of this crime, advocates are pushing for international courts to recognize it as well, and they're making progress. In this episode we explore what that means, what an ecocide trial might look like, who's most likely to be hauled into court for it, and the overarching goal of the effort.
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April 7, 2022 33 min
In 2019, after a decade-long campaign, voters in Toledo Ohio voted to approve the Lake Erie Bill of Rights, effectively giving the lake personhood. It drew an incredible amount of attention. This wasn’t San Francisco hippies or Brooklyn hipsters talking about rights of nature, this was middle-aged moms in the Rust Belt, and that absolutely terrified any extractive industry. Agrichemical companies turned out in force against the bil...
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When Tūhoe negotiated legal personhood for their homeland Te Urewera, the global rights of nature community cheered. But in this conversation about how the case connects to rights of nature overall and to the global push for climate action, Tamati Kruger, Tūhoe negotiator and chairman of the board that now oversees Te Urewera, explains that for Tūhoe it's about responsibilities—of people to protect the land and each other—not r...
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March 24, 2022 23 min
In New Zealand, after decades of negotiating, Tuhoe people won personhood for their ancestral homeland Te Urewera.
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Last episode we told the story of Ecuador's rights-of-nature journey, today Melissa Troutman and Joshua Pribanic, directors of Invisible Hand and co-founders of the journalism organization Public Herald, join to talk about what the landmark Los Cedros ruling means, not just for Ecuador but the world.
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Ecuador was the first country to adopt rights of nature into its constitution, but its Constitutional Court (Ecuador’s equivalent to the U.S. Supreme Court) has not heard many cases in the decade or so since the law was added. The new Constitutional justices made a point of picking several cases to test rights of nature, and in 2021 handed down a major judgement about the future of one of the world's most biodiverse cloud fores...
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A case argued at the Supreme Court this week—West Virginia v EPA—has potentially huge implications for regulating greenhouse gas emissions. NYU law professor Richard Revesz and Center for Biological Diversity attorney Jason Rylander join us to explain.
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February 24, 2022 31 min
A look at where rights of nature came from and how the concept has played out in the U.S.
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February 17, 2022 31 min
Welcome to our first season, The Forest for the Trees, a look at rights of nature cases all over the world. In this episode, we start with a case that's making its way through the courts right now, on behalf of wild rice, or manoomin in the Ojibwe language. The rights of manoomin case was originally filed in an effort to stop construction of the Line 3 pipeline. That pipeline has been built, but the case is still active, and it...
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January 19, 2022 2 min
People don't bring massive lawsuits against their governments or some of the world's largest companies unless they're out of options and ready to fight like hell. That's exactly what's behind the hundreds of court cases seeking justice for the greatest crime against humanity: the climate crisis. Join us as we dig into the stories behind those cases. S1 coming February 17, 2022!
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