Climate Change Cases Can Move Forward in State Courts, But Will They Be Successful?

June 10, 2020

Daily Journal

A torrent of recent decisions has pointed to state courts as the venue in which states, cities and other local jurisdictions can seek damages from fossil fuel companies for their contribution to climate change. In the past few years, states, cities and counties across the nation have brought state law public nuisance claims against fossil fuel companies like ExxonMobil and Chevron, arguing that their practices and knowledge of climate change has interfered with public health and safety as increasing sea levels, extreme drought, rising temperatures, and extreme precipitation events interfere with and damage public and private property. In reviewing theses cases, federal courts have whittled down the arguments made by the fossil fuel companies for removing these claims to federal court, clearing the way for these suits to proceed in state courts. The battles have been largely centered on procedural issues, so the merits of these nuisance claims have yet to be scrutinized. But some federal courts have opined on the compelling science of climate change, providing an indications that theses case may find success in state court.

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