UCL Energy Institute


UCL Academics launch new database to help litigation against fossil fuel projects

31 October 2023

Database named Redline launched by two UCL researchers to help environmental NGOs and public-interest lawyers with legal challenges against new fossil fuel projects

Large industrial chimney stacks against a sunset

The database—the culmination of a UCL Grand Challenges project and created by Fergus Green (UCL Department of Political Science) and Steve Pye (UCL Energy Institute)—will also be a useful resource for journalists and researchers working on fossil fuel-related issues in the context of the climate crisis. Redline (or Research Database for Litigation Against New Fossil Fuel Extraction), contains key scholarly research papers and reports, much of it drawn from the academic literature. It provides easily digestible summaries which also highlight potential applications of the research in fossil fuel litigation.

On the platform, the articles and summaries are organised into browsable categories covering factual issues commonly arising in fossil fuel-related litigation. Each category has its own landing page describing the issue and introducing the relevant articles in the database. Redline was launched at an event on 24th October 2023 at UCL, with keynote speeches from Paul Ekins (UCL institute for Sustainable Resources) and Clare Rothwell-Hemsted (Uplift). The event was well attended by members of the legal profession, representatives from environmental NGOs, and academics. Co-creator Fergus Green said:

Globally, fossil fuel consumption, production and investment continue to grow, despite the recognised need to stop new fossil fuel projects and phase down existing capacity in order to achieve the climate goals of the Paris Agreement. Litigation against new projects is a crucial means of stopping and delaying new projects, yet it but faces complex legal and evidentiary hurdles. Redline aims to help environmental NGOs and public interest lawyers succeed by helping them access and interpret the latest academic research on the subject.
Image of the Redline litigation database tool homepage
Image above: the homepage of the Redline litigation database tool


Co-creator Steve Pye noted:

We have realised in recent years just how important academic research on fossil fuels and climate change can be for legal cases against fossil fuel interests. A recent example was a case against Shell in the Dutch courts that Fergus and I were involved in as expert witnesses. We hope that the Redline database provides a helpful resource to the legal community, and that others from the academic community can continue to contribute to it in coming years.

The Redline project was led by Fergus Green (UCL Department of Political Science) and Steve Pye (UCL Energy Institute) and funded by UCL Grand Challenges. External partners were EarthJustice, Uplift, Friends of the Earth, and the Climate Litigation Network.


Image credits: iStock.com; Redline project