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Climate Change 4: Addressing Climate Change Through the Common Law

As of the beginning of 2010, Congress had not enacted comprehensive federal legislation to address climate change. Nevertheless, a number of plaintiffs--mostly non-governmental organizations, or NGOs--have been using litigation to attempt to educate the public and prompt effective responses.

This lesson examines the litigation that has used common law to address climate change, reviewing both the theories used and the success of those cases. It consists of 16 questions and assumes that students are unfamiliar with most of the common-law climate change litigation; no prior knowledge of the specific cases is required. However, students should have a general familiarity with certain basic common-law causes of action, especially nuisance.

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