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Standing to Challenge Climate Change Decisions

February 2016

Citation: ELR 10116

Author: Barry Kellman

When the government decides to approve, or not to approve, some activity that has climate change impacts, who has standing to bring a legal challenge? Answers are tricky and, ultimately, unsatisfying. What is clear is that the sheer number of cases presenting this question is increasing, and there is every reason to believe that this trend will accelerate into the future. That substantial litigation resources are devoted to doctrinal debates about who does or does not have standing to bring a climate change challenge represents, in this writer’s opinion, a diversion of scarce legal resources. Climate change is a serious matter, and, amidst an increasingly busy agenda, it is imperative to resolve climate change challenges on the merits.

Barry Kellman is Professor of Law and Director of the International Weapons Control Center at DePaul University College of Law.

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