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Climate Accountability

2023 Has Been A Big Year For Climate Accountability In The Courts

Climate litigation had a momentous year in 2023. Courts worldwide heard evidence and arguments at pivotal trials and hearings. Landmark rulings marked progress in holding governments to account for climate inaction or denial, and new climate cases continued to be filed. With climate lawsuits now totaling nearly 2,500 worldwide, it is clear that courts have become a critical venue for seeking climate justice and accountability. Here are some of this year’s highlights. In a groundbreaking ruling in August, Judge Kathy Seeley of the First Judicial District Court of Montana found in Held v. State of Montana that the state’s ongoing support for and promotion of fossil fuel development — including directing state regulators not to consider a project’s climate impacts during the permitting process — violated Montana’s constitutional guarantee of the right to a clean and healthful environment, which extends to a stable climate.
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