Date of Submission

Spring 2023

Academic Program

Environmental and Urban Studies

Project Advisor 1

Beate Liepert

Abstract/Artist's Statement

This thesis examines the obstacles that make environmental protection challenging to litigate, particularly in the context of climate change, and identifies the underlying reasons for these obstacles. I emphasize the significance of preserving nature and provide a historical overview of environmental conservation. Despite the pressing nature of climate change and environmental degradation, legal efforts to combat these issues have often yielded unsatisfying results due to a lack of transparency, accountability, and fair power dynamics. This study examines four U.S. climate litigation cases under the Freedom of Information Act, revealing a consistent pattern of inadequate transparency and accountability that creates an uneven balance of power. Additionally, it highlights the manipulation of climate science and the prioritization of the interests of big oil and gas companies by government agencies and politicians. Maintaining funding to these industries is often rationalized by citing economic disruption and political support loss as justifications or excuses. I contend that environmental protection is a fundamental right and demands greater attention. This research utilizes a wide range of external sources, such as journal articles, government websites, and books, to thoroughly examine the topic. Keywords are used to analyze the narrative of each case, recognize common themes, and compare cases to identify trends in U.S. climate litigation.

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Open Access

Creative Commons License

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