Faculty Author Type

Current Faculty [Margot Young]

Published In

Journal of Law and Equality

Document Type


Publication Date



Climate Emergency, Judicial Relevance


The Washington Post calls it the “the biggest political story in the world, a grinding global crisis in public view.” The Globe and Mail’s coverage is more muted, but its Editorial Board notes about this crisis that “[t]wo things have since changed: urgency and ability. The danger is growing closer, but so is humanity’s capacity to avert disaster.” These statements reference the 9 August 2021 release by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) of its Working Group I report, first instalment of the IPCC’s Sixth Assessment due out in 2022. The recent report, compiled by 234 authors based on more than fourteen thousand studies from around the globe, is blunt. Stabilizing the climate requires immediate, rapid, and sustained reductions in human-caused greenhouse gas emissions: “It is unequivocal that human influence has warmed the atmosphere, ocean and land. Widespread and rapid changes in the atmosphere, ocean, cryosphere and biosphere have occurred.” The climate emergency is “crying out for action from leaders around the world.” What happens if our governments continue to fail to answer that cry? The outlook is, as the August IPCC report starkly details, catastrophic.



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