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ICYMI – Power Mag Op-Ed by Former Louisiana Democratic Congressman Charlie Melancon: The Climate Litigation Campaign Narrative Is “Troubling—and False”

Power Mag recently published an op-ed by Charlie Melancon, former Democratic member of Congress and former Louisiana Secretary of Wildlife and Fisheries, “Bipartisan Action, Not Litigation, Is Key to Solving Climate Change.” Melancon’s op-ed directly took on the “troubling—and false” narrative that the litigation campaign has been pushing, namely that that energy manufacturers should be legally liable for climate change. He said that making real progress on climate change requires working together across party lines and geographic regions, rather than advancing these lawsuits. Key passages:

  • “When it comes to solving climate change, we have to improve the way America powers its electric grid; fuels cars, buses and planes; and cools and heats homes, and do it in ways that work for the American people not against them. And, the answers may be different in different parts of the country. Each state powers its communities in different ways and has different priorities. For that reason, finding solutions that work across the country—and can pass in Congress—has proven difficult.”
  • “The narrative around these lawsuits is particularly troubling—and false. First, they claim that climate change is somehow the fault of the energy industry because it knew its products were causing climate change and continued to sell them. Let me suggest something. We have all known about the impact of climate change, but we also needed these companies to produce energy for the American people.”
  • “Second is that because Congress has not enacted meaningful climate legislation, we should let state judges do Congress’ job. Enacting complex policies that can help solve one of the most vexing, pressing political problems of our lifetimes is not something that can be passed off just because it is hard. What may work in New England or the West Coast may not work in Louisiana. Arriving at and passing the right legislation requires old-fashioned bipartisan dialogue and compromise.”
  • “To be clear, since the 1980s when I was first elected to the Louisiana state legislature, there has always been an understanding that climate change is a problem and action is needed to address its risks. The problem has been agreeing on the best path forward given the philosophical and regional differences on energy policy. That’s not the fault of the energy companies or the environmental groups who would not sign off on solutions that did not meet their ideological tests. Energy production and environmental causes are not mutually exclusive.”
  • “What we need are policies that can bring people together, namely facilitating public and private investments in new energy technologies. . . . Some technologies may work and others may not. But one thing is for sure, nothing will be solved by lawsuits.”

You can read the entire Op-Ed here.