Long-running climate lawsuits and recent court rulings highlight the need for practical global climate solutions.
Climate change litigation aimed against energy firms across the country has proven to be far from over.
These court cases, like fossil fuel divestment campaigns, divert attention away from the critical national and international job of pushing effective global climate solutions and ensuring U.S. energy security.
A 7-1 decision by the United States Supreme Court on May 17 ordered the Fourth United States Circuit Court of Appeals to conduct a thorough appellate review of the jurisdictional arguments in Baltimore’s lawsuit against major energy companies.
New York City’s case against five energy producers was dismissed by the Second U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York City on April 2. Because these energy giants generate and sell fossil fuel products all over the world, New York City argues that they should pay for the city’s climate change costs.
The case against New York City was dismissed, which was significant. First, because these cases involve a “uniquely worldwide concern” like climate change, the court decided that “federal common law, not state law,” should prevail. Second, it considered the case as an attempt to use the courts to impose national and international policy on carbon emissions. Finally, the three-judge panel emphasized that the EPA, not the courts, should be in charge of regulating greenhouse gas emissions.
“While [New York City] is not seeking to impose a standard of care or emission restrictions on the Producers, the lawsuit’s goal is perhaps even more ambitious: to effectively impose strict liability for the damages caused by fossil fuel emissions, regardless of where those emissions were released around the world (or who released them). “If oil and gas companies wish to avoid any liability,” the justices explained, “their only option is to completely stop worldwide production.”
Many Americans believe that these lawsuits are a poor strategy for dealing with climate change. Only 2% of respondents in a poll commissioned by the Manufacturers’ Accountability Project agreed that suing firms is the best method to address climate change concerns.
Climate change can be addressed in considerably more effective ways. Reducing emissions and supplying cleaner energy is a demand-side issue as well as a supply-side issue. As a former US ambassador who dealt with the geopolitical consequences of climate change and energy security, I understand that addressing climate concerns necessitates a global effort based on certain facts related to energy security.
First and foremost, natural gas has the potential to significantly reduce carbon emissions. By moving from coal to natural gas as a source of energy. Brief News from Washington Newsday.