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December Media Roundup: Commentary Focuses on Flawed Climate Litigation, Which Is Interfering with Efforts to Fight Climate Change Through Meaningful, Innovative Solutions

This month, national and state opinion pages published commentary on the recent spate of climate litigation against energy manufacturers, exposing the significant flaws behind these lawsuits, the negative economic impact they would have on workers’ jobs and the economy, and the need for a collaborative approach where everyone is working toward the innovation needed to tackle this shared global challenge:

  • A Dallas Morning News editorial discussed the need to balance climate change and our energy requirements, but argues that such a policy fight is a job for our elected representatives in Washington, not state courts that seek to place blame for this societal-wide problem. The editorial explains that climate change is not about pointing fingers, where one company or industry that sells legal products is made liable for an issue as broad as climate change: “The reality is, if a barrage of state and local lawsuits is allowed to peck away at oil companies until their business is ruined, we will be no closer to powering our lives with wind and solar energy.”
  • In the Houston Chronicle, James Osborne reported on how energy manufacturers hope the U.S. Supreme Court will declare that climate lawsuits belong in federal court rather than state court. Osborne highlighted the upcoming oral argument in the high court, noting that energy manufacturers have “plenty of support, with not only business groups but also the U.S. Department of Justice backing their claim the federal courts are the correct venue.”
  • Committee for Justice and constitutional law attorney Curt Levey breaks down the multiple obstacles facing the plaintiffs who have filed climate litigation against manufacturers in The Washington Examiner. One such obstacle, Levey writes, is that the companies are selling a needed product: “it’s not unlawful to produce or sell fossil fuels, so the plaintiffs have to be creative in manufacturing legal claims.” His column concludes these lawsuits will do nothing to reduce carbon emissions and only divert resources away from effective climate measures.
  • The Asbury Park Press featured an op-ed by Stockton University Professor of Finance Michael Busler, Ph.D., on the economic harm climate litigation can cause for families and businesses in New Jersey. Busler notes that these lawsuits, like the one filed by the City of Hoboken, threaten to unfairly undermine companies that provide thousands of jobs in the state and contributes billions to the economy. He acknowledges the political pressure New Jersey officials are under to file these lawsuits, but urges the governor and attorney general to “hold firm and not fold to these pressure campaigns orchestrated by out of state activist groups.”
  • A Duluth News Tribune op-ed by former Minnesota state representative Doug Wardlow examined legal and ethical questions surrounding the two special assistant attorneys in Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison’s office who were funded by outside sources and placed in his office for the purpose of getting the Attorney General to file a climate lawsuit. Indeed, the two attorneys are listed on the state’s climate lawsuit. Wardlow questions whether the arrangement complies with state law, “which expressly prohibits executive-branch employees from receiving compensation from any source other than the state for their work on behalf of the state.”
  • Former Democratic State Rep. Doug Gablinske takes the pen in The Providence Journal, to chastise Rhode Island state officials for filing litigation “against the very energy companies the state needs to keep its lights on and economy moving” instead of “investing in cleaner and more efficient energy infrastructure…” He encourages those officials to work with the private sector on innovative technologies rather than wasting taxpayer dollars on “frivolous lawsuits.”

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