Thursday, January 14, 2016

Policymakers and Corporate Leaders Could be Held Responsible for Climate Inaction

Recent climate negotiations in Paris show that world leaders are capable of fast political movement, but a growing chorus of academics and city-level planners are saying that major cities on the U.S. coast—where nearly 39% of Americans live—are not preparing for the inevitable rise in sea levels. Legal experts are looking at cases that could set a precedent to hold policymakers accountable for inaction. “You are enforcing by not enforcing,” said Victor Flatt, the director of the Center for Law, Environment, Adaptation, and Resources at the UNC School of Law. “If you know that the whole system is going under and that there is high likelihood that deaths or property damage can result from failing to alter your building codes or your zoning, once the knowledge is out there it becomes difficult.” While direct legal pressure is not being applied to city officials as yet, environmental activists are pressuring Attorney General Loretta Lynch to investigate corporate leaders for hiding the risks of climate change from the public. Read more »