Environmental Law

Envt'l Law News Spring 2014, Vol. 23, No. 1

Alternatives to Litigation to Address Climate Change

by Kiran Sahdev*

When the crisis occurs, the actions taken depend on the ideas that are lying around. That, I believe, is our basic function: to develop alternatives to existing policies, and to keep them alive and available until the politically impossible becomes the politically inevitable.

-Milton Friedman1

Today, there is widespread consensus that climate change exists and poses a set of unprecedented challenges. Environmental challenges associated with climate change include melting arctic ice, rising sea levels, increases in air and ocean temperatures, intensifying weather events, increasing desertification, and declining forests.2 Existing models indicate that these challenges inevitably give rise to socio-economic impacts, including declines in global agriculture yields, increased drought, escalating rates of famine, and diminished public health.3 Some populations will be disproportionately impacted and even forced to leave their homes due to inhabitability (such displaced populations are known as climate refugees).4 Others face the very real consequences of property damage.

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