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The research catalogue is an archive of ESRC-funded grants and outputs. Links, files and other content will no longer be maintained or updated after April 2014.

The Judicialization of Climate Change Politics: A Comparative Analysis of the United Kingdom, the United States and Canada

This research investigates the burgeoning role of courts in climate change politics. Courts, and the litigants that prompt them to action, are having an increasingly important say in how greenhouse gas emissions and their impacts should be regulated. The project seeks to address two related puzzles:

  1. What explains variation, across countries and over time, in the judicialization of climate change policy?
  2. Why do some climate change activists and climate sceptics choose to be active participants before courts while others completely eschew the use of legal strategies in pursuit of their policy goals?

The study will rely on a comparative research design that looks countries with differing levels of judicialization of climate change politics: the United States (a high degree), Canada (relatively low) and the United Kingdom (in between). The research will deploy a socio-legal methodological framework that relies on techniques of frame analysis, that seeks to analyse how people understand situations and activities, and process tracing, which allows for the detection of causal mechanisms linking the mobilisation of law by non-state actors with increased involvement of courts in climate change policy debates.