Effective climate change governance faces two overarching challenges. The first is mobilizing the political will to regulate climate change with sufficient ambition. Second, when regulatory measures are in place to address climate change, the next challenge is ensuring that governmental and private sector entities are on track to comply with these time-sensitive climate governance commitments. This article addresses the second challenge. It reviews “climate washing” litigation that seeks to hold fossil fuel companies and other private sector entities accountable for misleading the public about their compliance with climate change mandates or goals. The article argues that climate washing tactics threaten human rights to health, property, food and water, and life, especially in vulnerable communities, by postponing effective climate regulation and thereby amplifying the risks from climate change-related events such as severe storms, flooding, heat, and droughts. It proposes to incorporate human rights compliance mechanisms into companies’ characterizations of their climate change compliance to help ensure these entities are transparent and truthful in their efforts to comply with climate change governance mandates or goals.
GW Paper Series
18 Intercultural Hum. Rts. L. Rev. 1 (2023).