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MAP’s Statement on the Vermont Attorney General’s Lawsuit: Innovation, not Litigation, Will Address Climate Solutions

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

“We share Vermont’s commitment to the environment, but its lawsuit does nothing to advance meaningful solutions to climate change and will only make oil, gas and other energy staples more expensive for families and businesses throughout the state. What Americans deserve is a smart national policy, not a trial-lawyer driven litigation campaign.

“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. We encourage Vermont and every state to focus on working with manufacturers to foster the policies and innovations required to address this global challenge—as the overwhelming majority of communities have done.”

-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 the Supreme Court’s Ruling of the Appeals in the San Francisco and Oakland, CA Lawsuits

Washington, D.C. — Phil Goldberg, Special Counsel for the Manufacturers’ Accountability Project, issued the following statement in response to the Supreme Court’s ruling in the appeal in climate lawsuits brought by San Francisco and Oakland, CA:

“Today’s decision comes as no surprise as it follows the Supreme Court’s ruling last month that asked the appellate courts to consider many of the same issues presented by Oakland’s petition. The appellate courts, including the Ninth Circuit, will be conducting a full review of the federal issues this litigation raises over our nation’s energy policy. The architects behind this litigation campaign purposefully packaged these cases as state law claims to avoid federal courts, which have repeatedly and properly found that these cases present policy issues for Congress and the administration, not liability issues for the courts. If the elected leaders in Oakland and the cities really want to do something about climate change, they should stop trying to game the litigation system and start working with manufacturers on innovations that can make a real difference for their communities.”

-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 the Supreme Court’s Ruling of BP PLC v. Mayor and City Council of Baltimore

Washington, D.C. — Phil Goldberg, Special Counsel for the Manufacturers’ Accountability Project, issued the following statement in response to the Supreme Court’s ruling of BP PLC v. Mayor and City Council of Baltimore:

“The Supreme Court’s decision today to provide a full federal appellate review of the jurisdictional issues in this case and others like it should stop this effort by Baltimore and other communities to circumvent federal law and undermine national efforts to address climate change through comprehensive public policies, innovation and collaboration. As federal courts have repeatedly found, ad hoc rulings in local courtrooms around the country are not the proper way to address this important global challenge.

“Addressing climate change requires collaboration and innovation—not litigation—to overcome. Baltimore and the other communities pursuing similar litigation should focus on working with manufacturers to foster the policies and innovations required to address this challenge, as the overwhelming majority of communities have done. Americans are tired of the litigation sideshow and deserve real solutions.”

-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 Anne Arundel County, MD Joining Climate Litigation Campaign: Collaboration, Not Litigation, Is the Proper Path to Help Communities Mitigate Impacts of Climate Change

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

“We share Anne Arundel County’s commitment to the environment, and we should be fighting climate change instead of each other. What Americans deserve is a smart national climate policy from policymakers, not a trial-lawyer driven litigation campaign that is more about making money and political scapegoating than real change. These lawsuits do nothing to advance meaningful solutions to climate change and will only make oil, gas and other energy staples more expensive for families and businesses in Anne Arundel County and throughout Maryland.

“Making and selling us the energy we all need to heat our homes, power our factories and jobs, and be part of modern society is not a liability-inducing event. That is why courts across the country—including the U.S. Supreme Court—have repeatedly dismissed these climate suits. If Anne Arundel County wants to make a real difference in the fight against global climate change, it should focus on working with manufacturers to foster the policies and innovations required to address this challenge—as the overwhelming majority of communities have done. Americans are tired of the litigation sideshow and deserve real solutions.”

-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 New York City’s Climate Lawsuit: Suing Manufacturers on Earth Day Will Not Solve Climate Change

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

“On Earth Day, we should be coming together to solve climate change. Manufacturers, including in the energy sector, are proactively working to create a sustainable environment, which requires developing innovative new technologies that will allow us to source and use energy much more efficiently. Collaboration and innovation are the only ways to stop climate change in its tracks.

“New York City should stop wasting everyone’s time on litigation that seeks to impose legal liability on manufacturers for climate change. This litigation will do nothing to solve climate change, is needlessly divisive, and will only make it more expensive for New York families and businesses to power their homes and workplaces. It also has repeatedly failed. Just last month, the federal courts rejected the City’s last climate lawsuit against these same companies, saying that “global warming presents a uniquely international problem of national concern. It is therefore not well-suited to the application of state law.”

“Americans deserve a smart national climate policy from policymakers, not a trial-lawyer driven litigation campaign that is more about making money and political scapegoating than real change. If New York City wants to make a real difference in the fight against global climate change, it should focus on working with manufacturers to foster the policies and innovations required to address this challenge—as the overwhelming majority of communities have done. Americans are tired of the litigation sideshow and deserve real solutions.”

Manufacturers’ Accountability Project Commends Second Circuit Decision Affirming Dismissal of New York City’s Climate Lawsuit

Washington, D.C. — Phil Goldberg, Special Counsel for the Manufacturers’ Accountability Project, issued the following statement in response to the Second Circuit’s dismissal of New York City’s climate lawsuit:

“We applaud the Second Circuit’s decision affirming the New York district court’s ruling that dismissed New York City’s climate tort lawsuit in 2018. This decision should send a strong signal to the other municipalities and states that have brought similar lawsuits – these cases will not be successful because climate change is not an issue for the courts to decide. As the Second Circuit stated in its opinion, ‘Global warming presents a uniquely international problem of national concern. It is therefore not well-suited to the application of state law.’

“Americans deserve a smart national climate policy from policymakers, not a trial-lawyer driven litigation campaign that is more about making money and political scapegoating than real change. These lawsuits do nothing to advance meaningful solutions to climate change and will only make oil, gas and other energy staples more expensive for families and businesses across the country.

“If New York City wants to make a real difference in the fight against global climate change, it should focus on working with manufacturers to foster the policies and innovations required to address this challenge—as the overwhelming majority of communities have done. Americans are tired of the litigation sideshow and deserve real solutions.”

MAP Statement on Annapolis Joining Climate Litigation Campaign: Collaboration, Not Litigation, Is the Proper Path to Help Communities Mitigate Impacts of Climate Change

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

“We share Annapolis’s commitment to the environment, but we should be fighting climate change instead of each other. What Americans deserve is a smart national climate policy from policymakers, not a trial-lawyer driven litigation campaign that is more about making money and political scapegoating than real change. These lawsuits do nothing to advance meaningful solutions to climate change and will only make oil, gas and other energy staples more expensive for families and businesses in Annapolis and throughout Maryland.

“Making and selling us the energy we all need to heat our homes, power our factories and jobs, and be part of modern society is not a liability-inducing event. That is why courts across the country—including the U.S. Supreme Court—have repeatedly dismissed these climate suits. In 2011, the Supreme Court said climate public policy is national and legislative in nature. In the past two years, a New York judge called the factual allegations here ‘hyperbolic,’ a federal judge in California called the legal claims ‘breathtaking,’ and a Texas judicial panel called the whole litigation campaign ‘lawfare.’

“If Annapolis wants to make a real difference in the fight against global climate change, it should focus on working with manufacturers to foster the policies and innovations required to address this challenge—as the overwhelming majority of communities have done. 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 resources to develop ways to source and use energy more efficiently. Americans are tired of the litigation sideshow and deserve real solutions.”

-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.

New Nationwide Poll – Voters Strongly Support Innovative Solutions to Combat Climate Change, Oppose Climate Litigation

50% strongly agree that we need innovative solutions to climate change, not blaming one industry for a problem to which all have contributed

54% say it’s “not important” to sue manufacturers over climate change

Washington, D.C. – The Manufacturers’ Accountability Project announced today that Axis Research conducted a nationwide poll this month of 1,003 voters to better understand voters’ attitudes about lawsuits targeting manufacturers over climate change. The poll explored voices across the political and demographic spectrum to understand the opinions among the electorate.  

Key Takeaways from Poll Findings:

  • A majority of voters (54%) say it’s “not important” to sue manufacturers over accusations of climate change; in fact, just 13% say it is “very important.”
  • A majority of voters (50%) strongly agree in innovating meaningful solutions to climate change, not blaming one industry for a problem to which we’ve all contributed; in contrast, only 5% strongly disagree with this message.
  • Of those polled, (47%) strongly agree that it’s not fair to blame one company or industry for climate change, and we all have a role to play in caring for the environment.
  • Only a small percentage of voters (2%) believe that suing companies is the best way to pay for existing climate change damages, and a similarly small percentage (8%) stated they strongly agree that suing manufacturers is the best way to solve the global challenge of climate change.

Phil Goldberg, Special Counsel for the Manufacturers’ Accountability Project, issued the following statement regarding the results of the poll: “It is clear from the results of this national poll that the American people want their leaders focused on finding ways to meaningfully address climate change, but they see this litigation is a counterproductive distraction. They understand that fighting climate change is a shared global challenge and that we need our political and business leaders to come together to develop innovative ways to source and use energy much more efficiently. But suing energy manufacturers over the climate, they said, is ‘unimportant,’ will not solve their climate concerns and is not the way to pay for impacts of climate change. Americans from across the political spectrum also agree that dealing with the climate is not about casting blame but is a shared responsibility. It is time for municipal and state leaders to start listening to their constituents—not the special interests pushing this litigation campaign—and collaborate with the business community on meaningful climate solutions.”

To view the poll summary memo with the full results and methodology used, please continue here. The poll’s sample size was distributed proportionate to the population, with a partisan make-up of 37% Democratic, 31% Republican, 29% Independent, and 3% other third party self-identified voters.

-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 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.