An increasing number of climate lawsuits worldwide address responsibilities of climate change mitigation or adaptation. Yet, we know little about wider socio-political consequences of climate change litigation. This study focusses on the successful case of Urgenda vs. the Netherlands, which has created precedence for similar lawsuits against governments in other countries. Following theories of intra-media and political agenda setting, we analyze interactions between media attention (newspaper articles) and political attention (parliamentary questions) for the Urgenda case and higher-level issues, namely climate policy and climate change in general. Employing Vector Autoregression models we find that media attention for the lawsuit led to greater parliamentary attention. Moreover, we find bottom-up agenda-setting effects with media attention for the case influencing greater media and political attention for climate policies. This study reveals that climate litigation can have indirect consequences beyond the court ruling with media attention for a lawsuit as a crucial vantage point.
- Climate change litigation
- intra-media agenda setting
- political agenda setting
- vector autoregression analyses