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ICYMI: New York Daily News Op-Ed by MAP’s Phil Goldberg – “New York City’s Climate Lawsuit Fixation”

New York Daily News recently published an op-ed by Phil Goldberg, special counsel to the Manufacturers’ Accountability Project. Goldberg’s op-ed highlights the problems with New York City’s multiple attempts to sue energy manufacturers for causing climate change. Earlier this year, outgoing Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that after several failed attempts, he was once again suing energy manufacturers over climate change. The op-ed explains that “[w]ith new leadership in Gracie Mansion, it’s time to break this litigation insanity.”

 Here are some of the key passages from the op-ed:

  • “Earlier this year, outgoing Mayor de Blasio grabbed headlines when he announced the city was suing energy companies over climate change. This case is the city’s third climate lawsuit in the past 20 years — all based on variations of the fact that energy use emits carbon dioxide.”
  • “Previous lawsuits failed for good reason. The first was filed in 2004 by then-New York City Mayor Bloomberg. He joined several states in suing the nation’s major electric companies to try to get a court order against their operations. The Supreme Court in 2011 unanimously rejected this case.”
  • “The city’s response? File more climate lawsuits — and get others to do the same. . . . New York then became the center of this litigation campaign.”
  • “Mike Bloomberg also began funding the State Energy & Environmental Impact Center at New York University School of Law to help drive similar lawsuits around the country. The center is paying salaries of attorneys it is placing in government offices to file these lawsuits — an arrangement that has raised serious ethical problems and been banned in some states.”
  • “Most courts are seeing through this ploy. The federal judge hearing the city’s second case said it was clear . . . this case is no different from the city’s previous lawsuit, and the Supreme Court already said it is not the job of courts to set climate policy.” 
  • “[W]hen the U.S. Court of Appeals affirmed the dismissal of the city’s second lawsuit, it accused New York City of “effectively seeking” to replace the carefully crafted framework of national and international law over climate policy with a “patchwork” of state lawsuits. The federal appellate court also said the lawsuit “ignores economic reality”
  • “If New York City politicos want to do something meaningful on climate, the next mayor should use the city’s position as the world’s economic engine to drive progress on climate technology. It should look to lead partnerships with energy manufacturers and other innovators that can accelerate the breakthroughs we need so moderate life will not degrade the climate.”

You can read the entire Daily News Op-Ed here.