• Refuge Online Journal

Tipping Balance

Anya Gleizer, with Rupert Stuart-Smith


"Tipping Balance"


Decades of political negotiations on climate change have proven insufficient to fully address the crises that current and future generations will face. International targets to limit future warming have been set, but domestic policies remain insufficient to meet these goals. Global greenhouse gas emissions from human activity are at record levels, and the impacts of climate change are worsening worldwide, strengthening storms, heatwaves and droughts, raising sea-levels and forcing the retreat of glaciers. All of these processes threaten lives, food security, property, and livelihoods.


With the legislative response to climate change proving insufficient, communities, activists, NGOs and others have turned to the courts for redress. Recent lawsuits have asked courts to require governments and corporations to cut greenhouse gas emissions to prevent further impairment of the rights of citizens due to climate change impacts. Other lawsuits have sought compensation from high-emitting companies for harms suffered as a result of climate change. Increasingly, judges are being asked to weigh up the rights of some to pollute, and others to a safe and healthy environment. Anya Gleizer’s work speaks to this process of adjudication as the courts increasingly take centre stage in the fight against climate change.






Anya Gleizer pursues an international art practice with an ambitious goal. Her research is led at an interface between art and science, and explores the relationship between human culture and the natural world. Gleizer digs deep into the soil, travelling globally to learn of different peoples’ relations to land, and what she unearths are the unsettling realities of today’s crises, but also a deeper sense of hope. www.streamsandmountains.com/anyagleizerarts.


Rupert Stuart-Smith is a Research Associate in Climate Science and the Law at the Oxford Sustainable Law Programme. His recent research includes analyses of the impact of climate change on glacial retreat in Peru in the context of an ongoing lawsuit (Lliuya v RWE) and the evidence needed to bring successful legal claims on the impacts of climate change. Rupert has authored expert reports for climate lawsuits and worked as a consultant to the Foundation for International Law for the Environment (FILE), supporting the development of FILE's legal granting strategy, and for WWF-UK, Climate Analytics and Vivid Economics.

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