Climate Litigation Watch is a project of the 501(c)3 legal non-profit, Government Accountability and Oversight, dedicated to providing a complete, accurate and objective record of litigation related to climate change.
As the public debate about the causes and consequences of climate change remains politically charged and as legislative responses elude policymakers, the nation’s courtrooms have become the issue’s principal battleground. This escalated rapidly with the loss, by major proponents of the agenda, of their access to many federal levers of power. Beginning in 2012 environmental activists, backed by wealthy individuals and organizations and in concert with plaintiff law firms, began devising and advancing a strategy to use law enforcement to attack the energy industry, and even think tanks and other policy groups, in the name of “climate accountability”. The strategy rests on the dubious premise that energy producers are responsible for the current state of a timeless planetary phenomenon, that industry concealed its knowledge of possible catastrophic climate consequences of fossil fuel consumption, and must be held to pay hundreds of billions of dollars in property damages, future infrastructure bills, and other costs.
This is a perversion of the justice system and particularly of chief law enforcement offices, state attorneys general. It is an attempt to criminalize, bleed and financially undermine an entire industry that has operated legally to provide products and services at the foundation of the modern economy and elemental to daily life. Energy producers enable energy users to live lives that are richer, freer and safer than our forebears could ever have imagined. The goal of this strategy, however, is to conjure a history of illegal conduct in order to advance an extremist policy agenda and fulfill a vision of an energy-starved world.
Misuse of the judicial system in the face of their agenda having failed through the proper, democratic process will not yield the practical responses the world needs as it faces a climate that is always changing, which change the wealthiest societies have always adapted to best. It instead will hinder them. Sadly — indeed comically were the human costs of energy poverty not so severe — this model seems patterned after those who responded to climate change less successfully. Burning witches was an absurd response then, and today’s modern equivalent will be viewed in future years as an equally misguided response.
Climate Litigation Watch will serve as a clearinghouse for documents in pending court cases, news coverage, background information on the key players who — public records available on the site show — have driven and are driving this coordinated effort, be they activists, financial backers, or litigators. It will provide commentaries and analysis, posting and placing in context important information gleaned from Freedom of information Act (FOIA) requests.
Climate Litigation Watch seeks neither to disprove scientific theories nor advocate for specific policies. Its sole purpose is to ensure the public record about this explosion of litigation, in the name of “climate accountability”, is complete so as to allow a more honest, fact-driven and well-informed debate.