Vol. 42 No. 3 (2023): The University of Queensland Law Journal
Articles (Special Issue)

The Indirect Impacts of Climate Change Litigation: Its Potential to Prevent Conflict and Atrocity Crimes Elsewhere

Yvonne Breitwieser-Faria
The University of Queensland

Published 2023-11-06


Climate change has been the subject of much debate as a threat multiplier to international peace and security. The risk that climate change might adversely affect conflict situations has generally been accepted. Its role towards the exacerbation of risk factors for atrocity crimes has, however, received little attention to date. As the number of climate change litigation cases increases internationally, it raises questions as to the potential impact of climate litigation, not only vis-à-vis climate action, but also beyond. This article considers whether effective climate litigation may prevent conflict and atrocity crimes elsewhere. It concludes that, where climate litigation is successful in achieving accountability for the implementation or enforcement of States’ climate commitments, it may have an indirect impact on alleviating the outbreak of conflict and contributing towards the prevention of atrocity crimes.