Science Policy through the Lens of U.S. Domestic Climate Change Litigation

21 Pages Posted: 22 Apr 2010

See all articles by Steph Tai

Steph Tai

University of Wisconsin Law School

Date Written: April 21, 2010


The direction and scope of scientific research is shaped by a number of factors, from government grant support to university undertakings to industry-supported interests to litigation-initiated scientific research. Climate change science is one important example of this dynamic development of scientific research. Although initial climate change research has been shaped predominately by government funding of research grants as well as academic and industry research and development, the advent of significant numbers of climate change-related lawsuits have added to the amount of scientific information generated regarding the effects of, and responses to, climate change.

This article highlights the impact that recent climate change cases, both international and domestic, have had on overall climate change research policy in the United States. It first provides some brief background on the theories underlying science policy development, as well as current government grant-funded initiatives to direct climate change research. This article then discusses the phenomenon of litigation-initiated climate-change science policy, exploring in a qualitative manner how a number of climate-change related cases may have influence the direction of scientific research beyond that generated earlier through grant-funded research. Finally, this article begins to develop ways to eventually evaluate more fully the impact of climate change litigation on scientific research development.

Keywords: science policy, climate change, climate change litigation, litigation

JEL Classification: K32, H K32, Q54

Suggested Citation

Tai, Steph, Science Policy through the Lens of U.S. Domestic Climate Change Litigation (April 21, 2010). Wisconsin International Law Journal, Vol. 27, No. 462, 2009, Univ. of Wisconsin Legal Studies Research Paper No. 1113, Available at SSRN:

Steph Tai (Contact Author)

University of Wisconsin Law School ( email )

975 Bascom Mall
Madison, WI 53706
United States

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