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MAP Responds to Ninth Circuit’s Decision on California Climate Litigation: Ruling Underscores Why the Supreme Court Should Hear These Cases

Washington D.C. – Phil Goldberg, Special Counsel for the Manufacturers’ Accountability Project, issued the following statement in response to today’s decision by the 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals to keep climate litigation filed by the cities of San Francisco and Oakland and San Mateo County in state court: 

The Ninth Circuit ruling identifies the main reason this case and all climate tort litigation is not suited for federal or state court, stating ‘whether the Energy Companies can be held liable for public nuisance based on production and promotion of the use of fossil fuels and be required to spend billions of dollars on abatement is no doubt an important policy question.’ Selling us the energy we need to power our homes, businesses and communities is not unlawful and, therefore, not a subject for tort liability in any court. It makes no sense to spend years of judicial resources on these procedural rulings when it is abundantly clear that this is a policy issue for executive or legislative bodies, not courts. In fact, today’s ruling underscores why the U.S. Supreme Court should hear the climate tort cases now and resolve them once and for all. 

At the end of the day, mitigating climate change is not about scapegoating others, which may score political points, but developing the technologies we need to source and use energy more efficiently. If these California communities really want to do something about climate change, they should work with manufacturers on these energy innovations, not waste everyone’s time with this baseless litigation.


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