Civil Society • From legal action to civil disobedience: the multifaceted conflicts of climate governance are reshaping the action of civil society

The extension of the repertoire of civil society contention has led to a more “conflictual” relation between activists and decision makers, as illustrated by three trends: the politicization of climate activism through civil disobedience, a growing demand for corporate accountability, and collective action through legal disputes.

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Antoine Gillod • Director of the Global Observatory of Climate Action

The multifaceted conflicts of civil action on climate feature both legal successes and difficult applications

  • Since 2015, civil society has diversified its repertoire of actions and radicalized its positions, multiplying conflicts and leading to contested major infrastructure projects being abandoned (Notre Dame des Landes, Yasuni…).
  • Shareholder activism is on the increase, but shareholder-supported resolutions are less likely to win the confidence of general assembly meetings than those tabled by the company’s board.
  • Use of legal proceedings to challenge a government policy or a company strategy has a high success rate in the courts. On a case-by-case basis, the effectiveness of the implementation of decisions has yet to be assessed.
  • The increasingly frequent use of law or legislation to confer rights on nature, ecosystems or animals is gaining in popularity.