Climate science in court: how scientific evidence can clarify states’ and companies’ legal responsibility for climate change

Rupert Stuart-Smith (University of Oxford)

Séminaire du département de Géosciences de l’ENS.


Date de début 16/01/2024 11:00
Date de fin 16/01/2024
Organisateur Département de Géosciences de l'ENS
Lieu ENS – salle Claude Froidevaux – E314 • 24, rue Lhomond 75005 PARIS


How fast must states cut their greenhouse gas emissions to act in line with the Paris Agreement? To what extent are individual companies responsible for specific climate change impacts, and will they be held liable in court? Growing numbers of courts have been asked to answer questions like these, as the legal system has come to play an increasingly prominent role in global climate governance.

But understanding the responsibilities of states and companies for mitigating climate change or compensating those affected by their emissions is not purely a legal endeavour. This seminar will discuss new research exploring how scientific insights and legal logic can clarify the responsibilities of states and companies to mitigate climate change, and how lawyers are leveraging attribution science in an effort to hold major emitters accountable for their contributions to climate change.

Informations supplémentaires

Dr Rupert Stuart-Smith is a Senior Research Associate in Climate Science and the Law at the Oxford Sustainable Law Programme.

In his research, Rupert advances methods in attribution science to shed new light on the impacts of climate change on health, glaciers, and extreme weather events. He studies how climate science can be leveraged to enhance legal scrutiny of corporate and state climate action and accountability for the impacts of greenhouse gas emissions. Rupert also publishes on the implications of burgeoning climate litigation on climate-related financial risk.

Rupert’s recent publications include research on legal scrutiny of states’ dependence on CO2 removal to meet climate targets, the impact of climate change on glacial retreat in Peru in the context of an ongoing lawsuit (Lliuya v RWE) and the evidence needed to bring successful legal claims on the impacts of climate change. His research has been published in leading scientific journals including Science, Nature Geoscience and Nature Climate Change. Rupert regularly provides scientific advice and training for lawyers and judges, and has authored expert reports for climate lawsuits.

ENS – salle Claude Froidevaux – E314 • 24, rue Lhomond 75005 PARIS