Gone Fishing: Activists Admit That Uncovering Documents, Not Winning, Is Goal Of Climate Litigation

In a moment of refreshing honesty – or perhaps a Freudian slip – a major player behind the climate litigation campaign admitted that the goal is not to win lawsuits. Instead, the campaign is part of a politically motivated effort to gain access to, and publicize, internal documents from energy companies in an attempt to bring further litigation – despite the four million documents already turned over in the New York attorney general’s case which showed no evidence of a “smoking gun.”

As Richard Wiles, the Executive Director of the Center for Climate Integrity (CCI), a project of the Institute for Governance and Sustainable Development (IGSD), told Bloomberg Law in September, the most recent climate lawsuits are now also targeting trade groups like the American Petroleum Institute (API) so that more documents can be obtained:

“The documents that they [API] might turn over could lead you many places that the individual companies’ documents might not.”

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