Oxford
OVERVIEW

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The Commonwealth Climate and Law Initiative (CCLI) is a research, education, and outreach project 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 also 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.

Australia, Canada, South Africa, and the UK, despite only producing 6% of current annual global GHG emissions, account for 13% of global coal reserves and 11% of global oil reserves. Their stock exchanges also have 27% of all listed fossil fuel reserves and 36% of listed fossil fuel resources. They each have large and highly developed financial systems and account for 23% of the global pension assets and contain within the G20 the 8th, 5th, 14th, and 4th largest stock markets by market capitalisation respectively.

The significant commonalities in the laws and legal systems of each of the four countries makes the initiative’s work and outcomes readily transferable. They each operate a common law legal system. Their corporate governance laws are based on common fiduciary principles. Whilst their laws may differ at the margins, legal developments and judicial precedents are influential in each others’ jurisdictions.

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.