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Centre for Environmental Rights – Advancing Environmental Rights in South Africa

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Pollution & Climate Change

Promote environmental justice, ensure compliance, and strengthen civil society participation.


The Pollution & Climate Change Programme undertakes legal advocacy and strategic litigation in relation to the key focal areas of air pollution and climate change.

We have been engaging with air pollution and air quality since 2013, engaging with the core legal architecture intended to protect people from toxic atmospheric emissions, advocating for stronger laws and litigating where these are not complied with. Our focus is strategic, aiming to use the law as effectively as possible to counter decisions and actions by emitters and state decision-makers. At the same time, our work is grounded in trusted relationships with stakeholders and communities who are otherwise left the bear the impacts harmful pollution alone.

This work has naturally lead the programme to engage with climate change caused by excessive greenhouse gas emissions arising from human activities such as the burning of fossil fuels. We advocate for stronger and more comprehensive climate protection laws; engage with a wide range of stakeholders to promote an inclusive and effective national climate change response; and legally challenge emitters and state decision-makers to avoid climate-harming actions and mitigate their impacts.  

The work also engages with intersectional issues such as, human rights, general environmental protection, as well as gender, socio-economic, intergenerational and climate justice. Through our work, we seek to develop and promote a just transition at this critical time in human history.