Just one week after Hoboken, New Jersey filed a lawsuit against a number of energy manufacturers in the fossil fuel space, Charleston, South Carolina and Delaware Attorney General Kathy Jennings have sued some thirty companies for damages the plaintiffs claim are due to their municipalities from climate change effect induced by the companies’ business operations.
As said on these pages, climate change litigation continues to become the de facto political tactic for municipalities and elected officials to wave their environmental flags without seriously pursuing solutions to what are shared global climate challenges.
Much like the many lawsuits to come before them (well over twenty at the time of writing), Charleston and Delaware make an inauspicious case. Both cases suggests that the companies named in the suit are responsible for propagating a “campaign of deceit” about the impact of fossil fuels on the environment. They have also looped in the American Petroleum Institute into the lawsuits, claiming the advocacy group was central to muzzling and misrepresenting the effects of emissions.
Moreover, Delaware’s suit relies on the same law firm, Sher Edling that is behind the Hawaii lawsuit and a number of others. There is little question that the firm is keen to pitch municipalities on climate litigation and the huge payday so that they themselves can receive a commission for their services. These suits remain without merit but come with significant consequences should a friendly judge side with a plaintiff. Not only will this restrict the supply of energy for Americans countrywide, raising prices in the process, but they would undermine the very companies that are working towards better energy efficiencies and emissions reductions; litigators don’t want climate solution – which should be set through the legislature, not the courts – they want to villainize the American energy industry in the name of environmentalism.