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ICYMI: MAP in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser— Climate Change Lawsuits Are a Distraction and Counterproductive to Real Solutions

The Manufacturers’ Accountability Project’s Counsel Chris Appel tackles the misguided climate change lawsuits being filed against energy manufacturers in an op-ed published today in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, calling them a “distraction” and “counterproductive” to real environmental solutions. Appel details how these lawsuits will not solve the “shared challenge” of climate change and outlines the consequences should the litigation succeed, particularly for Maui and Honolulu, both of which have announced they intend to file their own litigation.

Here are some excerpts from his op-ed:

  • “The litigation itself is misguided. Climate change is plainly a shared challenge. The litigation proposes to scapegoat the energy industry for making products that are essential to modern life, and for which we all — including people on Maui and Oahu — continue to demand and use in spite of the risks. It would have courts set America’s energy policy through adversarial litigation at a critical time when government and the private sector should be joining forces to source and use energy more efficiently.”
  • “But let’s pretend courts do an about-face and impose liability. Now what? For starters, the energy industry would be turned upside down. The companies targeted could not absorb the alleged costs of all climate change impacts in every community in the United States. . . . Although some environmentalists might cheer this result, the reality is that the companies being sued provide us with stable energy that we cannot get other ways.”
  • “Today, fossil fuel companies are leading the effort globally to develop the technological innovations that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions in energy production. The research-and-development effort needed to deal with climate change, therefore, would take a huge step backward if courts turned the production of fossil fuels into a liability-inducing event.”
  • “In the end, energy in the United States would become significantly more expensive and scarce. We would see an exodus of American manufacturing, meaning more products made in China and other countries with less-efficient coal-burning power plants and fewer environmental regulations.”

You can read the entire op-ed here.