The Commonwealth Climate and Law Initiative (CCLI)

The Commonwealth Climate and Law Initiative (CCLI) examines the legal basis for directors and trustees to take account of physical climate change risk and societal responses to climate change, under prevailing statutory and common laws.

Background to the Commonwealth Climate and Law Initiative (CCLI)

The unparalleled economic risks from climate change have led to rising concerns over the legal liability risks for individuals, companies, and investors. In September 2015, Bank of England Governor Mark Carney warned that company directors could be held legally liable for failing to manage climate change risks. In early November 2015, the New York State Attorney General issued subpoenas to Exxon and Peabody Energy and began investigations over claims they misled the public and investors about the dangers and potential business risks associated with climate change.

These developments, and others, could potentially have significant implications for the insurance sector, but also for other parts of the financial system and for companies in carbon intensive sectors as well. Company directors and pension fund trustees could be held liable for: i) contributing to anthropogenic climate change; ii) not reasonably managing the risks associated with climate change; and/or, iii) misleading investors about the business risks of climate change or failing to comply with legal reporting requirements.

Overview

The Commonwealth Climate and Law Initiative (CCLI) is a research, education and outreach project led by the Stranded Assets Programme at the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment (Oxford University), A4S and ClientEarth. The project is focused on four Commonwealth countries: Australia, Canada, South Africa, and the United Kingdom. CCLI will examine the legal basis for directors and trustees to take account of physical climate change risk and societal responses to climate change under prevailing statutory and common (judge-made) laws. In addition to the legal theory, it aims to undertake a practical assessment of the materiality of these considerations, in terms of liability, and the scale, timing, probability of this and the potential implications for company and investor decision-making.

CCLI aims to commission and undertake a wide range of research, engagement, and outreach activity across these four countries and also in other Commonwealth countries (e.g. India, Pakistan, Nigeria, Malaysia, Singapore, New Zealand etc), non-Commonwealth common law jurisdictions ex-US (e.g. Hong Kong), British Overseas Territories (e.g. Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands etc), and British Crown dependencies (Guernsey, Isle of Man, and Jersey). Many of these jurisdictions are major financial centres and/or have significant fossil fuel reserves.

A4S's role in the CCLI

A4S is working with the partners to develop a series of symposia in the UK, South Africa, Canada and Australia.

If you are interested in attending these events, further information please go to the CCLI website.
 

CCLI Partners