The Climate Change & Animal Agriculture Litigation Initiative is an academic project within the Climate, Animal, Food, and Environmental Law & Policy Lab (CAFE Lab) of the Law, Ethics & Animals Program (LEAP) at Yale Law School. The purpose of the Initiative is to survey and analyze the landscape of emerging litigation trends to evaluate the likelihood and potential impact of climate change litigation in the United States based on the role of animal agriculture. The Initiative launched in October 2021.

Overview

Even if fossil fuel emissions ended immediately, global emissions related to food production alone could preclude limiting warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius or less above pre-industrial levels, a goal of the Paris Climate Agreement. The vast majority of U.S. agriculture emissions are related to the production of livestock animals and their feed. The livestock industry’s emissions are particularly concerning because livestock and their manure are among the United States’ top sources of methane, a climate super-pollutant.

Yet, agribusinesses have received little legal or political scrutiny for their climate pollution, and the industry’s greenhouse gas emissions remain effectively unregulated in the United States. Given the urgency of the climate crisis and the current lack of political will to address greenhouse gas pollution from the livestock industry, climate advocates may turn to litigation as a potential leverage point for holding livestock corporations responsible for their greenhouse gas emissions. The Initiative seeks to understand the nature, likelihood, and potential impacts of such strategies.

The Initiative is led by Daina Bray, Senior Research Scholar, Senior Litigation Fellow, and Project Manager for the Initiative; LEAP Faculty Co-Directors Doug Kysar and Jonathan Lovvorn; and LEAP Executive Director Viveca Morris.