What California Stands to Lose in the Climate Legal Battle

In just a couple of weeks, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals will hear oral arguments stemming from the two California-based lawsuits where municipalities are suing energy companies for alleged costs associated with combating climate change. The energy companies will have their chance to tell the court that climate mitigation is a global challenge, best addressed by common sense regulations, rather than politically-motivated litigation.

In 2017, San Francisco and Oakland filed a lawsuit against five energy companies. In 2018, Federal Judge William Alsup dismissed the lawsuit, ruling that the courts were not the appropriate venue to set climate policy.

“In sum, this order accepts the science behind global warming. So do both sides. The dangers raised in the complaints are very real. But those dangers are worldwide. Their causes are worldwide. The benefits of fossil fuels are worldwide. The problem deserves a solution on a more vast scale than can be supplied by a district judge or jury in a public nuisance case.” (emphasis added)



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