2018 was a good inaugural year for Climate Litigation Watch, a project of Government Accountability & Oversight (GAO), which contributed to making 2018 a year of unexpected failure for the Climate Industry.
In addition to educating the public, we like to think that our efforts helped stiffen the resolve of others to resist agreeing to tap a revenue gusher sought, and eagerly anticipated, by the booming sub-industry of climate litigation. They will have to wait a little longer for those settlements from frivolous AG and municipal lawsuits, and investigations seeking to shake down energy producers — always intended for distribution to political constituencies.
Critically, the climate litigation industry’s most visible benefactor has been exposed trying to rent law enforcement. His group’s website was soon scrubbed of references to him on its “About” or “Fellows” pages (thanks, Wayback Machine!). Meanwhile, as talk swirled about another major climate industry supporter, a foundation, stepping in to buttress this placement of mercenaries in AG offices to “advanc[e] progressive clean energy, climate change, and environmental legal positions”, one legislature’s counsel concluded the scheme illegal in that state, an ethics complaint was filed in another, and yet another’s legislature is presently considering responses to that state’s AG’s efforts to join in.
All of this contributed to a very productive year at Climate Litigation Watch:
- GAO was first to uncover the huge windfall that Climate Industry lawyers stand to gain
- GAO ran ads cautioning residents of Virginia, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Oregon, and New Mexico against law enforcement for rent
- The Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) exposed state governments for rent
- CEI and GAO exposed a “Secret Meeting” of Attorney Generals and Climate Donors
- GAO sued Treasury for climate documents for Institute for Energy Research (IER), twice
- GAO sued the State Department for climate documents, twice, again for IER
- CEI exposed problems and sued the DOE over their “Green” tax credit scheme (FOIA)
- GAO sued the Virginia AG with CEI
- GAO sued the University of California with CEI
- CEI showed that the Virginia OAG at least claims it made no effort to actually inquire into the legal authority, or ethics, when offering up that Office “to advance the agenda represented by the State Impact Center”.
Those are just some of the highlights. Reports of great wailing and gnashing of teeth among the Climate Change Industry abound, as their principals boast of a coming offensive (and my, how offensive use of law enforcement in service of activist donors really is). The new House of Representatives majority in Washington vows to make February “Climate Month” (whether that is instead of or additions o July has yet TBD). Expect Hill show trials and AG shakedowns in 2019, ramping up, or rather racing to the bottom, as the 2020 campaign season begins.
We had a busy first year last year – and we prepared to do more this year.