climate change litigation

International Liability for Harm: Epidemics and Pollution

What duties do countries have to avoid causing global harms?

There’s been talk lately of demanding compensation if a country’s negligence allowed a disease to spread globally. There is a long history of discussion regarding similar damage claims in international environmental law.  The same principles seem applicable to disease spread. In theory, damages should be available in both cases. The core principle of international liability …

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Guest Contributors Rosa Hayes and Samantha Peltz: Silver Linings in the 9th Circuit’s Juliana Decision

Juliana litigation youth plaintiffs

Juliana Litigation Provides Clues for Establishing Standing in Future Cases

For many aspiring environmental litigators, such as ourselves, the bold Juliana litigation was the little-case-that-could: it presented a novel constitutional theory to redress the climate crisis, survived a motion to dismiss against all odds, and went up to the Supreme Court not once, but twice. But on January 17, 2020, Juliana hit a significant roadblock …

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What’s Wrong with Juliana (and What’s Right?)

The odds against the “children’s case” are bad and getting worse. But there’s a valid insight at its core.

Juliana v. United States, often called the “children’s case,” is an imaginative effort to make the federal government responsible for its role in promoting the production and use of fossil fuels and its failure to control carbon emissions.  They ask the court to “declare the United States’ current environmental policy infringes their fundamental rights, direct the …

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Climate Change in the Courts

What’s next in climate change litigation?

There are three important climate lawsuits pending in federal court. Here’s the state of play and what to expect next. In the first case, Oakland and San Francisco sued leading oil companies. They claim that the companies’ production and sale of fossil fuels is a public nuisance under California state law. They seek an abatement …

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News Flash: 10th Cir. Rebukes Government Over Coal Leases

Today’s important ruling on standing, public lands, and climate change

In an important ruling this morning, the Tenth Circuit rejected the government’s assertion that it could ignore carbon emissions tied to renewing coal leases. In WildEarth Guardians v. BLM, the court also rejected the mining company’s attack on the standing of environmental groups to raise this claim.The mines in question are in the Powder River …

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The ostrich administration

Ostriches actually don’t hide their heads in the sand, but the Trump administration sure wants to

It’s a myth (of course) that ostriches hide their heads in the sand when they’re afraid. Hiding one’s head is about the worst possible way to react to danger: it won’t make a threat go away, but it will make it awfully difficult to respond effectively. Ostriches are not that stupid. (They apparently do sometimes …

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Climate Standing with a Twist

Rather than prove they will be specifically harmed by increased carbon emissions, plaintiffs can use other kinds of harm as a basis for climate standing.

Plaintiffs got a Christmas present from the D.C. Circuit in the form of a pathway to prove standing in climate change cases. The Supreme Court has considered two cases dealing with standing to sue based on injuries caused by climate change.  The Court found standing in one case 5-4 and split 4-4 in the second …

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Trolling for Anti-Environmental Plaintiffs

A reader sent me a an email from the Coalition of Energy Users trying to find plaintiffs for a challenge to AB 32 implementation.   CEU claims to be a grassroots group that does not have a deep-pocket funding source, and that may be true.  On the other hand, its interests are so precisely aligned with …

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The Last Standing Article You’ll Ever Have to Read

Using the Supreme Court’s ruling on public nuisance law and climate change as an example, the essay argues that standing doctrine has become so incoherent and manipulable that it has lost any real function.

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