Responding To Litigation Risk From Climate Change - Informed Decision Making


In the last few weeks, several major organisations, including the OECD and the US federal government, have released reports on the need to deal with climate change risk. Significantly, the world's largest global insurance market, Lloyds, has spoken out portentously about the need for decisions concerning long-term commitments to take into account climate change projections. In the following article, we look at some of the key findings from these reports and how one insurer is seeking to proactively effect change through litigation against local governments. The clear message is that uninformed decision making is putting organisations at risk.


The Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) recently described climate change as 'one of today's greatest economic challenges' and called on its 36 member countries (of which Australia is one) to align their policies towards low-carbon growth. The release of the OECD statement coincided with the release of the US's quadrennial National Climate Assessment (NCA). The NCA too calls for revision of policy but also legal codes, building and infrastructure standards, and urban planning, to understand and overcome barriers to adaptation to climate change.

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