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Manufacturers to New York: Let’s Work Together on Climate Change

The Manufacturers’ Accountability Project weighed in today on a New York General Assembly Standing Committee on Environmental Conservation hearing that examined “how best to address the impacts of climate change on communities and the work force.”

In testimony submitted to the Committee, the MAP’s Special Counsel Phil Goldberg focused on manufacturers’ efforts to reduce their environmental footprint, highlighted the legal deficiencies of climate litigation and urged New York to work with manufacturers to reduce the impact of this global issue.

Highlights from Goldberg’s testimony:

  • “Manufacturers in America are leading the way when it comes to reducing emissions while simultaneously increasing output through innovations in technology that improve the energy efficiency and sustainability of their operations. Importantly, manufacturers have reduced their GHG emissions by 10 percent while increasing value to the economy by 19 percent over the past decade.”
  • “Climate change is a society-wide issue that requires a society-wide response. Unfortunately, some cities and states, including New York City, are looking to cast blame and point fingers through climate change lawsuits against manufacturers, rather than work together to solve this global problem. They want to blame America’s energy manufacturers, even though they are only selling us the energy that we want and need. These energy products are staples of modern life that advance people’s health and safety, including in New York City homes, office buildings, theaters, sports arenas, roadways and hospitals.”
  • “The courts have understood both the legal and factual deficiencies with climate change lawsuits and have dismissed them. In 2011, the U.S. Supreme Court dismissed AEP v. Connecticut, 564 U.S. 410 (2011), issuing a broad warning against climate change lawsuits, explaining there is “no room for a parallel track” of litigation over climate change public policy. The Ninth Circuit, and federal judges in California and New York, similarly refused to create category liability over the sale and use of fossil fuels. They dismissed cases seeking money from energy companies for climate change-related injuries.”
  • “Where New York can have an impact on reducing climate change impacts is to work with manufacturers and the broader business community in America on new technologies that reduce emissions and make energy more efficient and environmentally friendly.”

As the City of Fort Lauderdale recently realized, litigation is not an effective means of addressing climate change. Instead, public officials must work side-by-side with manufacturers on meaningful and productive solutions to this global challenge.

The full testimony can be found HERE.