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MAP Statement on Maui Filing Climate Litigation: Collaboration, Not Litigation, Is Proper Path to Address Climate Change

Washington, D.C. — Phil Goldberg, Special Counsel for the Manufacturers’ Accountability Project, issued the following statement in response to the County of Maui, Hawai’i filing a lawsuit against manufacturers over the impacts of climate change:

“Maui’s lawsuit does nothing to advance meaningful solutions to climate change and will only make oil, gas and other energy staples more expensive for the community’s families and businesses. Filing a bunch of these lawsuits is a political strategy by a handful of environmental advocates trying to scapegoat energy manufacturers when, in reality, fighting climate change is a global challenge that requires collaboration and innovation to overcome. Manufacturers, including those in the energy industry, are focused on the fight against climate change every day and are investing major resources in developing ways to source and use energy more efficiently.

“These politically-motivated lawsuits over climate change have no place in the courtroom, which is why every court to reach the substance of the allegations has dismissed them—including the U.S. Supreme Court. Just last year, a judge in New York called similar allegations ‘hyperbolic’ in dismissing a lawsuit there. Making and selling us the energy we all need to be part of modern society is not a liability-inducing event. If Maui wanted to make a real difference in the fight against global climate change, it would focus on working with manufacturers to foster the policies and innovations required to address this challenge—as the overwhelming majority of communities have done—and not join this fringe litigation movement.”

-MAP-

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 mfgaccountabilityproject.org.

Manufacturers’ Accountability Project Releases Report on Climate Tort Litigation

Today the Manufacturers’ Accountability Project released its full Beyond the Courtroom: Climate Tort Litigation in the United States report, which details the well-funded, tightly-scripted groups of activists, private law firms, public relations groups and academics behind the sophisticated campaign to influence municipalities and others’ decisions to bring climate tort litigation against energy manufacturers. It is clear from the report that this litigation is not about solving climate change, but is driven solely by politics and profit.

The report’s release comes at a timely juncture, as the U.S. Supreme Court said on Friday that it would review a key issue in Baltimore’s climate change case – an issue related to federal jurisdiction that is common to all of the climate cases. Accordingly, there will likely be a pause in the climate tort litigation covered by this report, providing an opportunity for reporters and others following these cases to learn more about the litigation campaign.

As the report explains, this litigation is part of a nearly 20-year campaign by these groups, and so far every court, including the U.S. Supreme Court, to consider their substantive merits has rejected them. The report exposes the true nature and purpose of this litigation: filing a bunch of these lawsuits is nothing more than a political strategy to scapegoat energy manufacturers rather than acknowledge that fighting climate change must be a shared global challenge that requires collaboration and innovation to overcome. Indeed, these lawsuits do nothing to advance meaningful solutions and will only make the energy American families and business use every day more expensive.

Nevertheless, private attorneys and other climate litigation campaign activists have been traveling to municipalities and states, offering their services on a contingency fee basis—effectively “selling” these lawsuits.

“Although private plaintiffs’ attorneys have tried to shop these lawsuits from Florida to California, the courts have continued to appreciate that this kind of litigation will not solve climate change, nor are the courts the appropriate venue for creating policies to address a pressing global issue,” said Phil Goldberg, special counsel for the Manufacturers’ Accountability Project. “This report is a helpful tool in understanding the political interests that influence climate lawsuits as well as the flawed legal arguments the plaintiffs are using in court.”

The report is divided into six chapters:

  • In the first chapter, MAP introduces the key players in the climate tort litigation campaign—the municipalities, organizations and attorneys suing energy manufacturers. It also peeks behind the curtain to the non-profits and donors that are providing financial contributions, as well as legal and communications support, to the litigation.
  • Chapter Two takes a close look at the groups and individuals funding, coordinating and supporting this litigation campaign.
  • Chapter Three examines the “highly coordinated” organizations, public relations firms and “media outlets” that “iterate the same talking points” to amplify the climate litigation campaign.
  • Chapter Four reveals how lawyers have been actively selling baseless litigation over climate change, telling local governments that they and their funders will pay for the litigation in its entirety in exchange for a contingency fee if the litigation is successful. The chapter then details how two legal teams and their partisans have been pitching local governments.
  • In Chapter Five, MAP explains the private funding models, namely foundation money and contingency fee arrangements, behind today’s government climate lawsuits. The chapter explains how these funding sources can distort justice and create conflicts of interest between the for-profit lawyers and the communities they purport to represent.
  • Chapter Six explores major contradictions upon which the climate litigation campaign is built, underscoring the fundamental weaknesses in its legal claims.

Although the report focuses on litigation targeting energy manufacturers, its explanation of public nuisance theory is helpful in understanding a concerning trend in the United States of punishing manufacturers for engaging in lawful behavior and for creating the products that consumers need. 

The full report can be accessed online.

-MAP-

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 mfgaccountabilityproject.org.

MAP Statement on U.S. Supreme Court Granting Review in City of Baltimore Climate Litigation

Washington, D.C. — Phil Goldberg, Special Counsel for the Manufacturers’ Accountability Project, issued the following statement in response to the U.S. Supreme Court granting review in the climate litigation filed by the City of Baltimore against energy manufacturers:

“In granting review in the Baltimore climate change case, the Supreme Court clearly understands the need for the federal judiciary to speak with a single voice on whether this climate case and the others like it should be heard in state or federal court. As we explained to the Supreme Court in the amicus brief I filed for the manufacturing community urging the Court to take this case, the lawyers bringing these climate cases have been trying to game the system by filing the same case in several jurisdictions—hoping to take advantage of a split among the circuits on the question at the heart of this appeal. There is no doubt the recent increase in filings in new jurisdictions likely added urgency to this appeal in the mind of the Supreme Court.

At the end of the day, we are confident the Court will once again find that climate change requires a comprehensive response from policymakers, not a liability ruling from state or federal courts. The Supreme Court said climate change was not a tort litigation issue in AEP v. Connecticut and it should say so again here. Fighting climate change is a shared global challenge that requires collaboration and innovation—not litigation—to overcome.”

-MAP-

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 mfgaccountabilityproject.org.

MAP Statement on Connecticut Filing Climate Litigation: Collaboration, Not Litigation, Is Proper Path to Address Climate Change

Washington, D.C. — Phil Goldberg, Special Counsel for the Manufacturers’ Accountability Project, issued the following statement in response to the Connecticut attorney general filing a lawsuit against manufacturers over the impacts of climate change:

“We value General Tong’s commitment to the environment, but we should be fighting climate change instead of each other. Filing a bunch of these lawsuits is a political strategy by environmental advocates trying to scapegoat energy manufacturers when, in reality, fighting climate change is a shared global challenge that requires collaboration and innovation to overcome. These lawsuits do nothing to advance meaningful solutions and will only make oil, gas and other energy staples more expensive for Connecticut families and businesses.

“Regardless of how the lawsuits are packaged, making and selling us the energy we all need to be part of modern society is not a liability-inducing event. This is why every court to reach the substance of the allegations has dismissed them—including the U.S. Supreme Court. Just last year, a judge in New York called similar allegations ‘hyperbolic’. A patchwork of decisions from state courts cannot substitute for a national energy policy crafted by the executive and legislative branches.

“The truth is that manufacturers, including energy manufacturers, are focused on the fight against climate change every day and are investing major resources in developing ways to source and use energy more efficiently. If Connecticut and other states want to make a real difference in the fight against global climate change, they should work with manufacturers to foster the policies and innovations required to address this challenge—as the overwhelming majority of communities have done—and not join this ill-conceived litigation.”

-MAP-

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 mfgaccountabilityproject.org.

MAP Statement on Delaware Filing Climate Litigation: Collaboration, Not Litigation, Is Proper Path to Address Climate Change

Washington, D.C. — Phil Goldberg, Special Counsel for the Manufacturers’ Accountability Project, issued the following statement in response to the Delaware attorney general filing a lawsuit against manufacturers over the impacts of climate change:

“Delaware’s lawsuit does nothing to advance meaningful solutions to climate change and will only make oil, gas and other energy staples more expensive for the state’s families and businesses. Filing a bunch of these lawsuits is a political strategy by a handful of environmental advocates trying to scapegoat energy manufacturers when, in reality, fighting climate change is a shared global challenge that requires collaboration and innovation to overcome. Manufacturers, including those in the energy industry, are focused on the fight against climate change every day and are investing major resources in developing ways to source and use energy more efficiently.

“These politically-motivated legal actions over climate change have no place in the courtroom, which is why every court to reach the substance of the allegations has dismissed them—including the U.S. Supreme Court. Just last year, a judge in New York called similar allegations ‘hyperbolic’ in dismissing a lawsuit there. Making and selling us the energy we all need to be part of modern society is not a liability-inducing event. If Delaware wanted to make a real difference in the fight against global climate change, it would focus on working with manufacturers to foster the policies and innovations required to address this challenge—as the overwhelming majority of communities have done—and not join this fringe litigation movement.”

-MAP-

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 mfgaccountabilityproject.org.

MAP Statement on Charleston, SC Filing Climate Litigation: Collaboration, Not Litigation, Is Proper Path to Address Climate Change

Washington, D.C. — Phil Goldberg, Special Counsel for the Manufacturers’ Accountability Project, issued the following statement in response to the City of Charleston filing a lawsuit against manufacturers over the impacts of climate change:

“Charleston’s lawsuit does nothing to advance meaningful solutions to climate change and will only make oil, gas and other energy staples more expensive for Charleston families and businesses. Filing a bunch of these lawsuits is a political strategy by a handful of environmental advocates trying to scapegoat the energy industry when, in reality, fighting climate change is a shared global challenge that requires collaboration and innovation to overcome. Manufacturers, including those in the energy industry, are focused on the fight against climate change every day and are investing major resources in developing ways to source and use energy more efficiently.

“These politically-motivated legal actions over climate change have no place in the courtroom, which is why every court to reach the substance of the allegations has dismissed them—including the U.S. Supreme Court. Just last year, a judge in New York called similar allegations ‘hyperbolic’ in dismissing a lawsuit there. Making and selling us the energy we all need to be part of modern society is not a liability-inducing event. If Charleston wanted to make a real difference in the fight against global climate change, it would focus on working with manufacturers to foster the policies and innovations required to address this challenge—as the overwhelming majority of communities have done—and not join this fringe litigation movement.”

-MAP-

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 mfgaccountabilityproject.org.

MAP Statement on Hoboken Filing Climate Litigation: Litigation is an Ineffective Tool to Address Climate Change

Washington, D.C. — Phil Goldberg, Special Counsel for the Manufacturers’ Accountability Project, issued the following statement in response to the City of Hoboken filing a lawsuit against manufacturers over the impacts of climate change:

“Hoboken’s lawsuit does nothing to advance meaningful solutions to climate change and will only make oil, gas and other energy staples more expensive for Hoboken families and businesses. Filing a bunch of these lawsuits is a political strategy by a handful of environmental advocates trying to scapegoat the energy industry when, in reality, fighting climate change is a shared global challenge that requires collaboration and innovation to overcome. Manufacturers, including those in the energy industry, are focused on the fight against climate change every day and are investing major resources in developing ways to source and use energy more efficiently.

“These politically-motivated legal actions over climate change have no place in the courtroom, which is why every court to reach the substance of the allegations has dismissed them—including the U.S. Supreme Court. Just last year, a judge in New York called similar allegations ‘hyperbolic’ in dismissing a lawsuit there. Making and selling us the energy we all need to be part of modern society is not a liability-inducing event. If Hoboken wanted to make a real difference in the fight against global climate change, it would focus on working with manufacturers to foster the policies and innovations required to address this challenge—as the overwhelming majority of communities have done—and not join this fringe litigation movement.”

-MAP-

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 mfgaccountabilityproject.org.

MAP Statement on DC Attorney General’s Lawsuit: Trying to Scapegoat Energy Manufacturers is Not Going to Solve Climate Change

Washington D.C. – Phil Goldberg, Special Counsel for the Manufacturers’ Accountability Project, issued the following statement today in response to the DC Attorney General filing a lawsuit today against energy manufacturers: 

Politically-motivated legal actions over the shared global challenge of climate change have no place in the courtroom—whether they target a handful of companies as here or an entire industry. This pointless lawsuit is about trying to impose liability over policy positions, including from decades ago, and even the companies’ current engagement in environmental policies with which the District Attorney General’s office disagrees. The issues raised in this lawsuit are entirely political, not legal—this is why a judge called them “hyperbolic” last year when dismissing the New York AG’s claims based on essentially the same allegations.

Repeating a tired, false narrative does not make it any more true. It is disturbing to all manufacturers when the law is selectively applied and distorted for political purposes. Trying to scapegoat energy manufacturers, whether here or in other lawsuits, is not going to solve climate change, which is one of the most important challenges of our time. If the District and other governments really care about doing something about climate change, which we hope they do, they should focus on collaborating with the industry to foster the policies and innovations required to address this challenge.

-MAP-

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 mfgaccountabilityproject.org.

MAP Responds to Minnesota Attorney General’s Lawsuit: Politically-Motivated Legal Actions Over Shared Global Challenge Have No Place in the Courtroom

Washington D.C. – Phil Goldberg, Special Counsel for the Manufacturers’ Accountability Project, issued the following statement in response to Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison filing a lawsuit today against the American Petroleum Institute, ExxonMobil, and Koch Industries:

Politically-motivated legal actions over the shared global challenge of climate change have no place in the courtroom—whether they target a handful of companies or an entire industry. This pointless lawsuit is about trying to impose liability over policy positions, including from decades ago, which the AG’s office currently disagrees. Courts are rejecting this misguided and misleading narrative, with a judge already calling them “hyperbolic” last year when New York’s Attorney General brought claims based on essentially the same allegations.

It is disturbing to all manufacturers when the law is selectively applied and distorted for political purposes. Trying to scapegoat energy manufacturers, whether here or in other lawsuits, is not going to solve climate change. Minnesota and other governments should focus on collaborating with the industry to foster the policies and innovations required to address this challenge.

-MAP-

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 mfgaccountabilityproject.org.

MAP Responds to Texas Court of Appeals Decision: Judges Acknowledge how Climate Litigation Proponents Try to Undermine Rule of Law

Washington D.C. – Phil Goldberg, Special Counsel for the Manufacturers’ Accountability Project, issued the following statement in response to Thursday’s decision by the Texas Court of Appeals, which reluctantly dismissed ExxonMobil’s petition to conduct pre-suit discovery against the lawyers, cities and foundations that have been waging the climate litigation campaign against it and other energy manufacturers.

This ruling is a must read for anyone who cares about climate litigation because it uncovers the systematic campaign that lawyers, activists and cities have engaged in over the past decade to turn climate change into a tort litigation issue, not a matter of national energy policy. This is one of the rare rulings that is not important for the result, but for what the judges said about how these groups are trying to undermine the rule of law.

Specifically, the Texas court called the ‘lawfare’ the California municipalities are engaged in
an ‘ugly tool by which to seek the environmental policy changes the California parties desire, enlisting the judiciary to do the work that the other two branches of government cannot or will not do.’ The Court also issued extensive findings of fact that track the climate liability campaign, from the infamous La Jolla conference where this litigation strategy was born to secret meetings with foundations to recruit state attorneys general and California municipalities to their cause.

Another good read is the Manufacturers’ Accountability Project’s Beyond the Courtroom report because it further exposes how this litigation has been driven by politics and profit all along. Its chapters detail how a handful of wealthy foundations have been providing money to law firms and public relations consultants to generate and create a false façade of support for this litigation. In addition to leveraging these lawsuits for their protracted fundraising campaigns, they are trying to use them as improper tools to drive the policy debate on climate public policies.

At the end of the day, Americans understand that selling energy they need and use every day is neither unlawful nor a public nuisance, and therefore not a liability concern for the courts. Climate change is a problem that needs to be addressed, but this litigation is neither a viable legal option nor productive. We hope the Texas Supreme Court will allow this case to proceed so that the Texas courts can fully pull back the curtain on the climate litigation campaign.

-MAP-

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 mfgaccountabilityproject.org.