If the Imperial EPA Doesn’t Get Its Way, the Lawyers Might

From The Irish Times, “G8 states could face class actions on climate change,” comes a report of an “Asian People’s Climate Court,” gathering in Bangkok, where the vanguard of the oppressed masses used a mock court format to rail against wealthy countries. The vannest of the guard was Antonio Oposa, a Filipino environmental lawyer, who might have just been drumming up business:

Mr Oposa said it was “only a matter of time” until properly constituted international tribunals began hearing class actions seeking reparation from “over-consuming countries” for damage caused by climate change in developing nations.

“A group of lawyers are actually thinking of it already,” he said, referring to a network called Global Legal Action on Climate Change.

“The countries most affected in Asia and Africa will begin to stand up and take action if they get nothing from Copenhagen.”

Closer to home, cash-seeking attorneys are pleased by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals’ ruling last month reinstating a lawsuit by against power companies for creating a federal “public nuisance” by emitting carbon dioxide. (See Shopfloor.org post.)  From The Business Insider, September 23, “2nd Circuit Reinstates Controversial Environmental Lawsuits“:

The decision is extremely encouraging for the plaintiffs in another environmental suit, Native Village of Kivalina v. Exxon.  That case, filed in the Northern District of California, is also based in part on common law nuisance claims.  “The 2nd Circuit has now emphatically rejected the defendants’ main arguments for dismissing the Kivalina lawsuit,” Drew Hansen, a partner at Susman Godfrey and one of the attorneys representing the Kivalina plaintiffs, said in a phone call today.  The judge in Kivalina is currently considering the defendants’ motions to dismiss.

Dubbed “the most dangerous litigation in America” by the American Justice Partnership, the Kivalina lawsuit attempts to shake down oil, coal and power companies for causing beach erosion in Alaska. If you have ever consumed electricity, you may be called as a witness.

Join the discussion One Comment

  • Chuck says:

    Won’t this be good news? Putting Climate Change on trial. I’m not an attorney, so probably don’t understand the rules of evidence in such a suit, but wouldn’t the plaintiffs first have to establish that what they claim is true? If I were a defendant, I would proceed to call all 30,000 scientists that have signed the petition that claims global warming is not caused by man’s CO2 emissions. I would then introduce all of the recent peer reviewed analyses that prove that the global warming over the past century is the result of the sun, and its activity/inactivity, and point out the cyclical nature of the warming. Then I would introduce the fact over the last 6 or so years that demonstrate that the CO2 has continued to rise, while the oceans have cooled along with global land temperatures as measured by the temperature measuring satellites. As a wrap up, I would demonstrate the political bias of the various authors of the IPCC studies, thus questioning the veracity of the conclusions in those studies. I figure that all of this would take roughly ten years to complete but would really be necessary to establish what the plaintiffs claim.

Leave a Reply