Climate change litigation as financial risk

Solana, J. (2020) Climate change litigation as financial risk. Green Finance, 2(4), pp. 344-372. (doi: 10.3934/GF.2020019)

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Climate change litigation has been increasing rapidly and steadily for the past ten years, yet our understanding of the costs associated with this litigation are still very poor: policy frameworks are too shallow, estimations of these costs in the private sector are scarce and simplistic, and the academic literature on this issue is still very incipient and has a very fragmented focus. This essay provides a comprehensive analysis of the different types of costs that can arise from climate change litigation. Financial institutions provide an ideal focal point for this analysis because their role as enablers of some of the activities that contribute to aggravate the climate emergency make their exposure to the risk of climate change litigation unique and complex: they can be directly exposed to the risk of litigation as potential defendants in a case, facing potential pay-outs and fines, legal and administrative costs, insurance costs, financing costs, and reputational costs; but they can also be exposed indirectly, through litigation that targets their counterparties, especially their clients, which can lead to losses if the client’s solvency is affected, and can impose additional reputational costs. This typology, as well as the exploration of several methodological challenges, can support the incipient efforts to estimate the costs of climate change litigation for financial institutions that we observe among financial supervisors, credit rating agencies, and financial institutions themselves. It can also help guide attempts to estimate these costs in other industries that are particularly vulnerable to climate change litigation.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Solana, Dr Javier
Authors: Solana, J.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Law
Journal Name:Green Finance
Publisher:AIMS Press
ISSN (Online):2643-1092
Published Online:28 October 2020
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2020 The Author
First Published:First published in Green Finance 2(4): 344-372
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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