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ICYMI: San Francisco Chronicle Op-Ed – Suing Energy Producers Over Climate Change Won’t Help

After the National Association of Manufacturers filed an amicus brief in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, the brief’s author, MAP Special Counsel Phil Goldberg, took manufacturers’ case to Bay Areas readers in a San Francisco Chronicle op-ed. He emphasized how the wave of frivolous public nuisance litigation is the wrong approach to combat climate change. Manufacturers offer a different path—collaboration and innovation.

Here are some excerpts:

  • “California has been attempting this type of litigation for years. In 2004, California and other states sued utility companies for emitting carbon dioxide. The U.S. Supreme Court, in a unanimous decision authored by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, dismissed the case and warned against any such lawsuits, saying there is ‘no room’ for litigation over climate change public policy.”
  • Manufacturers agree that reducing carbon dioxide emissions is important, but offer a different path — one based on innovation and collaboration. The best way to mitigate climate change and its impacts is for governments to work with manufacturers on new technologies that reduce emissions.
  • “The federal government has many programs, such as Energy Star, the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED certification, the Environmental Protection Agency’s Smart Sectors and Sustainable Materials Management initiatives, and the Department of Energy’s Better Plants program, that help reduce energy use.”
  • “This approach is working. Manufacturers reduced greenhouse gas emissions by more than 10%from 2005 to 2015 while increasing value to the economy by 19%, and this work continues. Overall, the United States has made greater greenhouse-gas reductions over the past decade than any other nation. We make things cleaner here than anywhere in the world.

Manufacturers have been clear about the need to act on climate change and are not only proactively working to reduce their emissions but have also offered meaningful, cooperative solutions that would continue their success in diminishing their environmental footprint.

As Goldberg concludes, “People who care about climate change, our economy and our way of life should call on their elected leaders to sit down with companies and advance meaningful solutions to improve our lives and reduce emissions. This cannot happen, though, if our leaders sue those companies instead.”