Washington, D.C. — Phil Goldberg, Special Counsel for the Manufacturers’ Accountability Project, issued the following statement addressing the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling in the California counties and cities’ climate lawsuits:
“This ruling was unsurprising, but what’s interesting about it is that the court started by reiterating its view that the fundamental question of whether the energy companies can be required to spend billions of dollars on climate mitigation based on their production and promotion of oil and gas is really a ‘policy question’ and concluded by emphasizing that this litigation raises ‘novel and sweeping causes of action.’ There is still no escaping that the nature of climate change, this litigation and the remedies being sought are all inherently beyond the scope of any state court.
What’s more, today’s events—where our energy security is at risk, Americans are facing rising gas prices and the federal government is working to encourage more domestic production—underscore why we cannot afford to subject federal energy policy to a patchwork of approaches from a multitude of state courts.
The U.S. Supreme Court has already cautioned against climate litigation for many of these reasons, which is why it is likely the Supreme Court will hear these cases again. It makes no sense to spend years litigating climate cases in state courts when it is clear that climate change is global in nature, has many causes and requires broad-based policy solutions.
If these California communities really want to address climate change, they would be working with manufacturers of all kinds to continue developing the technologies that will allow us to source and use energy more efficiently, protect our environment and ensure our energy security.”