Global Climate Litigation Report: 2020 Status Review

The UNEP Global Climate Litigation Report: 2020 Status Review provides an overview of the current state of climate change litigation globally, as well as an assessment of global climate change litigation trends. It finds that a rapid increase in climate litigation has occurred around the world.  In 2017 there were 884 cases brought in 24 countries. As of 1 July 2020, the number of cases has nearly doubled with at least 1,550 climate change cases filed in 38 countries. This growing tidal wave of climate cases is driving much-needed change.

The report shows how climate litigation is compelling governments and corporate actors to purse more ambitious climate change mitigation and adaptation goals. It reports on key emerging trends in these cases, including the role of fundamental human rights connected to a safe climate and cases that bring to life the right to a healthy environment we now see in the constitutions of over 100 countries. It outlines how cases are forcing greater climate disclosures and ending “corporate greenwashing” on the subject of climate change and the energy transition. It reports how people are holding their governments to account, seeking to keep fossil fuels in the ground and challenging non-enforcement of climate-related laws and policies.

Summaries of significant cases appear throughout this report, and it also describes five types of climate cases that suggest where global climate change litigation may be heading in the coming years. 

Date Published

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Resource Type



Climate Change, Environmental Law


United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)