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Media Roundup: Growing Scrutiny of a Flawed Legal Strategy

The MAP has worked tirelessly to pull back the curtain on the network of special interests using misguided lawsuits and dubious legal theories to target manufacturers.  As recent media coverage indicates, our efforts continue to gain attention from reporters and columnists questioning the legal strategy of this campaign and the integrity of the lawsuits themselves. Check out the highlights below:

  • In Axios, Amy Harder takes a deep dive into the strategy behind the California and New York City lawsuits, calling them a “flawed climate gambit.” Climate change, she writes, is a global problem with the legal basis of these claims “unlikely to succeed.” Notably, Michael Burger, director of the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia University, tells Harder he is skeptical of the lawsuits succeeding due to the legal difficulty of tracing “precise amounts of causation and blame to the oil industry, let alone particular companies.”
  • Holman Jenkins penned a column for The Wall Street Journal examining the motivations behind New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s recent lawsuit against energy manufacturers. He writes, “Under a whole range of likely future climate scenarios, the cost-benefit trade-off of meaningful action has become an impossible sell to voters and even in terms of payoff for distant generations. But a meme is a terrible thing to waste. Keep the climate panic fluffed in the minds of receptive voters to promote careers like Mr. de Blasio’s …” Jenkins questions why the mayor and others do not put their efforts into supporting useful policy changes rather than frivolous lawsuits.
  • The Orange County Register published a column over the weekend by Chapman University Law Professor Anthony T. Caso. He zeroes in on the seven California cities and counties failure to mention in their bond offerings the same climate change effects that they detail in their lawsuits against energy manufacturers. Professor Caso writes, “One could hardly be criticized for concluding that the cities and counties involved in these lawsuits have either lied to the courts or to their bond investors. If they have lied to either, there is big trouble ahead.” Should the SEC find they misled the public, it will be taxpayers on the hook for any penalties.
  • Inside EPA conducted an in-depth interview with the NAM’s general counsel and MAP lead Linda Kelly on our work to counter these lawsuits. Kelly noted that the litigation is not about climate change, but rather a  payday for plaintiffs’ attorneys such as Matt Pawa. A source in the article echoed that comment, calling the lawsuits “an attempt by anti-fossil fuel activists to politicize the court” as “a place to go get headlines and media attention.”

This coverage is encouraging and the MAP will continue to shed light on efforts by this campaign of public officials and plaintiffs’ attorneys to stretch the bounds of tort law for their political and financial gain.