Lawsuits will help drive how climate change policy evolves in the years to come. More of those lawsuits are originating in California than any other state, according to a new study out of George Washington University.
Not only is there a growing number of climate-change related lawsuits, but roughly 25 percent of those cases nationally are filed in California.
Dr. Sabrina McCormick, the lead author for the study, said California is key for climate change issues because the state can set its own environmental policy through a waiver from the federal government.
"If California chooses to set precedent, or to create more progressive environmental policies, that means the rest of the country can follow suit and emulate those policies," McCormick said. "And we can see a ripple effect across the United States, and sometimes, even across the world."
McCormick said the vast majority of cases are brought by people or organizations looking for increased regulations to address climate change.
Many of California's lawsuits deal with CEQA, the California Environmental Quality Act, which requires climate change be addressed for the vast majority of private and public projects in the state.