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ICYMI: The NAM’s Linda Kelly Delivers a Dose of Climate Litigation Reality in Providence Journal Op-Ed

In the Providence Journal over the weekend, Linda Kelly, senior vice president and general counsel for the National Association of Manufacturers, delivered a dose of reality to climate lawsuit supporters who hailed a federal court ruling sending the Rhode Island public nuisance litigation targeting manufacturers to state court. Her op-ed highlighted how this isn’t the victory those supporters believe it to be, noted the benefits Rhode Islanders derive from energy products and outlined collaborative solutions to tackle climate change.

Here are some excerpts:

  • The judges who threw out the three climate liability cases last summer emphasized that climate change is a federal issue best resolved by Congress and the federal agencies, not courts at either the federal or state levels.
  • “What Rhode Island fails to mention is that energy products are highly beneficial, and families and businesses need affordable energy. . . . Rhode Islanders remain overwhelmingly reliant on the very fuels implicated in these lawsuits to power and heat their homes and businesses.”
  • There are a number of solutions where governments and manufacturers can make a huge difference, such as public-private partnerships to help decarbonize technologies as well as the implementation of policies to promote the adoption of more energy and water-efficient products.
  • …we cannot sue our way to a solution on a global issue as complex as climate change. No matter how many creative legal arguments are deployed or whether they are heard in federal or state court.

In the wake of last week’s court decision, the Manufacturers’ Accountability Project has likewise emphasized that “mitigating the impacts of climate change is not a liability issue for either state or federal court.” Manufacturers are already leading the charge in reducing emissions through innovative technology. It’s time supporters of this baseless litigation realize they have a losing hand and join in a collaborative effort to find meaningful solutions that actually address the global challenge we are all facing.