Next Story Federal judge tosses out climate change lawsuit

Flooded MTA train in New York after Hurricane Sandy

Flooded MTA train in New York after Hurricane Sandy

A federal judge in Manhattan dismissed New York City's lawsuit against five major oil companies Thursday, ruling that climate change and its effects are global issues that extend beyond the court's reach.

The problem of climate change is for Congress and the Executive Branch to address, he said. "Global warming and solutions there to must be addressed by the two other branches of government". He also said that because climate change is a global problem, the city's claims "implicate countless foreign governments and their laws and policies", and could not be decided by a court. "The issue is a legal one - whether these producers of fossil fuels should pay for anticipated harm that will eventually flow from a rise in sea level". The fossil fuel companies are appealing that decision. Rhode Island has sued as a state in Rhode Island state court. Oil company defendants routinely remove cases to federal court, but that's no guarantee the suits will stay there.

The judge ruled that the courtroom was not the appropriate venue for the claim. I've been writing about litigation for long enough to have seen the concept of regulation-by-litigation wax and wane, from state attorneys general beating the tobacco industry into compliance to gun companies receiving blanket Congressional immunity in the face of a plaintiffs' lawyer onslaught. On Thursday, a federal judge threw the city's lawsuit out of court. NY tried to argue that its case isn't governed by federal law because its claims are based on the sale of fossil fuels, not the fuel emissions.

"Judge Keenan made that clear in his decision today", said Mr. Timmons in a statement. "The City's claims are ultimately based on the transboundary emission of greenhouse gases, indicating that these claims arise under federal common law and require a uniform standard of decision". "We intend to appeal this decision and to keep fighting for New Yorkers who will bear the brunt of climate change", Mr. Stein said.

It was a tricky suit for any judge-and a political bomb. "If an oil producer can not be sued under the federal common law for their own emissions, a fortiori they can not be sued for someone else's".

Iran's president warns Trump of 'mother of all wars' if provoked
During a recent tour, a senior State Department official warned that those failing to reduce Iranian oil imports to "zero" by early November would face U.S. sanctions.

New York City sued in January, claiming the five oil companies are responsible for more than 11% of all the atmospheric carbon and methane pollution since the Industrial Revolution, Kallanish Energy learns.

Keenan also followed Alsup's lead in determining that holding foreign companies liable (as Shell and BP are headquartered outside the U.S.) and weighing liability for worldwide emissions would raise foreign policy implications.

Furthermore, the state's presentation of the harms of fossil fuel use must be reconciled with the benefits of fossil fuels as a source of power and heating.

Theodore Boutrous, who argued on behalf of the oil companies at a recent hearing before Keenan, said the judge "got it exactly right".

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