California Schemin' - Climate Litigation Watch

California Schemin’

In September California Attorney General Rob Bonta joined the climate litigation cavalcade seeking to pay for green new deal goodies without openly raising taxes. It was a funny lawsuit: Gov. Gavin Newsom flew to New York City to announce it to a “Climate Week” audience more receptive than constituents suffering under punishing gasoline prices. Bonta then flew to Dubai to push it, where activists served as his media flacks.

In addition to paying for things politicians don’t want to risk directly raising taxes for, the other main objective of these lawsuits—and of course one of the major reasons the curiously repetitive yet purely local, we swear! complaints belong in federal court—is the oft-confessed (in emails) aim of bringing industry “to the table,” who in suing for peace must agree to enlist as lobbyists for the climate agenda. At that point it’s up to Main Street and taxpayers to stand in the way, bringing Californiacation of the nation one giant step closer.

GAO thought to look around using California’s Public Records Act to see if the usual path was followed in this matter: law enforcement/plaintiffs working with donor-provided consultants to prep a case desired by said donors (see the Minnesota case study, here).

It appears that the lead partner organization in this lawsuit was Bonta’s host and promoter in Dubai, the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD). CBD is more conveniently physically located than the Center for Climate Integrity (CCI), a Rockefeller Family Fund project out of New York (as GAO has established; see Minnesota case study). This represents a new lead dance partner for these climate plaintiffs, so far as CLW is able to discern.

That is not to say that CA OAG was not collaborating with CCI— it was. More on that in a bit. Along the same lines, GAO notices the invitation list to hop on a “public Zoom link” that CCI and CBD arranged for the Office was more to brief friends and family than for the public. The exchanges do suggest a list of activist groups the Office is close with.

Whether those relationships are substantive as with CBD, or more because the groups are the AG’s political base, is a question for a later date. More interesting for the moment is the Office’s claim that correspondence containing “ … are exempt from disclosure because they are protected under the work product doctrine.” What with that keyword being an email domain of an outside pressure group, this is an intriguing posture to assume.

It is also a posture being assumed by other plaintiffs, about the email domain of that other group pushing climate litigation, as GAO will detail further in coming days.