Thursday, November 25, 2021 - 9:00am to 10:30am
Virtual event

Stockholm Explorative Talks

Thursday, November 25, 2021

9:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. (EST)

Taking Climate Change to Court poster

Register for this virtual event

As the theme for our conversation might suggest, law is often associated with determinacy and force. But, perhaps counterintuitively, in the context of a pervasive and existential challenge like climate change, law’s primary role law has not been to provide “rules” and “enforcement.” Instead it has served to frame and guide action, and to force justification. So, it may be more apt to think of law as a “dynamic force.” This applies all the more when law needs to operate in a context marked by complexity and significant disagreement. In the climate context, for example, multiple issues intersect and vast disagreements remain over what action ought to be taken, how fast, and by whom. The Paris Agreement on climate change has been called “weak.” I will suggest that it may in fact be stronger than its predecessor, the Kyoto Protocol, precisely because reflects the insight that, in such a heterogenous context, global climate action cannot be “driven” by binding obligations and enforcement. – Jutta Brunnée