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NAM Calls on U.S. Court of Appeals to End Baseless Climate Change Tort Litigation; Urges Cities to Work with Manufacturers on Real Solutions to the Climate Change Problem

Washington, D.C. – The National Association of Manufacturers filed an amicus brief today in support of manufacturers targeted by Oakland and San Francisco with baseless litigation that seeks to hold a handful of companies liable for global climate change.

This case was dismissed by the Honorable Judge William Alsup in June, 2018. In his 16-page opinion, Alsup explained the fundamental reason why courts should not get involved in climate change public policy.  He wrote, “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.” The cities appealed his ruling to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, which is where NAM filed its brief today.

In the NAM brief filed today, Phil Goldberg, Special Counsel for the Manufacturers’ Accountability Project and author of the amicus brief, wrote:

“The National Association of Manufacturers is committed to protecting the environment and to environmental sustainability, and fully supports the ongoing national effort to protect our environment and improve public health through appropriate laws and regulations. The NAM has grave concerns, though, about the attempt here to circumvent products liability law and create category liability for lawful, beneficial energy products that are essential to modern life.

“By the Plaintiffs’ admission, this is a cost-shifting effort through which they are seeking to create category liability for oil, gas and other types of energy products, regardless of their utility to modern society. Their proposed remedy would impose a penalty on energy production, but only on these Defendants and their products. The fact that Plaintiffs are seeking to choose whom to penalize and for which products underscores the political nature of this litigation.

“The judiciary is not the place for making climate change public policy judgments. The best way to reduce climate change emissions and impacts is for Congress, Plaintiffs and other governments to work with America’s manufacturers, including Defendants, on new technologies that reduce emissions and make energy more efficient and environmentally friendly.

“Innovation and collaboration, not litigation, has been the proven way America has brought about society-wide technological advancement. For these reasons, as well as those stated herein, the NAM respectfully urges the Court to affirm the lower court’s ruling to dismiss this lawsuit”

To view the full amicus brief, click here.


The Manufacturers’ Accountability Project (MAP) will set the record straight and highlight the concerted, coordinated campaign being waged by plaintiffs’ lawyers, public officials, deep-pocketed foundations and other activists who have sought to undermine and weaken manufacturers in the United States. This campaign will pull back the curtain to expose these efforts and to hold key actors accountable in order to protect our members and American manufacturing workers. The MAP is a project of the NAM’s Manufacturers’ Center for Legal Action (MCLA), which serves as the leading voice of manufacturers in the nation’s courts. Visit us at