Climate change is the greatest global challenge that humankind has ever faced. It has changed the way in which communities, governments and businesses interact with each other, how they contract one with another and what legal disputes they face. National and international legal frameworks currently in place rarely provide the necessary mechanisms to resolve new kinds of disputes that have emerged and as a result, important gaps remain.
International commercial arbitration is uniquely placed to respond to the transboundary nature of climate change. Its inherent flexibility, innovativeness, ability to deal with complex, cross-border issues and the possibility to choose a neutral adjudicator according to his/her expertise give commercial arbitration an important advantage over court litigation. However, some of its characteristics that are seen as welcome and desired in different contexts create important challenges for achieving climate justice. Therefore, innovation in this area will be necessary if commercial arbitration is to become an attractive option for resolving climate change-related disputes between businesses. The arbitration community should try to find constructive ways in which commercial arbitration can innovate itself so that it can complement other methods of dispute resolution traditionally used for climate change disputes.Journal of International Arbitration