June 11, 2018

The Climate Change Tort Racket

Plaintiffs’ attorneys and left-leaning politicians are ganging up to shake down big oil, according to an editorial by The Wall Street Journal. The editorial points to lawsuits filed by San Francisco, Oakland, New York and Seattle against five global oil companies for billions in future damages from climate change, and to the role of “brass-knuckled” plaintiffs’ firm Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro in shopping climate litigation around to cities looking for quick cash.

Essentially, these suits claim that “the mere production and promotion of fossil fuels” constitutes a public nuisance, creating tremendous potential liability for producers.

At a recent hearing in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, Judge William Alsup pushed back on this notion, pointing out that the federal government and states have encouraged the production of fossil fuels: “If the nation is saying, ‘please do it,’ how can we hold them liable for that?”

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