CLW readers may recall our recent curiosity about an email, and its attachment, which went missing from a document production from the Oregon Department of Justice.
This particular email had begun a thread, one which showed the origin of Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum’s participation in yet another Center for Climate Integrity panel discussing (as one academic infamously put it), “going after climate denialism with a bunch of state and local prosecutors nationwide.” That is, the climate litigation industry.
Keeping that in mind, harken back to a March 2020 comment by Sher Edling, LLP, outside counsel for Rhode Island, Minnesota, and indeed many if not most of the players in the climate litigation industry. These clients include those we now know were recruited to the game by Center for Climate Integrity, like the City of Baltimore.
The firm called it called it “conspiratorial” to suggest Rhode Island brought its climate lawsuit against “Big Oil” to obtain a “sustainable funding stream” to underwrite the executive’s Green New Deal-style spending ambitions. This came in opposing Energy Policy Advocates’ motion to file an amicus curiae brief in the First Circuit, which revealed two independent sets of notes attributing the claim that that was precisely what was going on to (checks own notes) a Rhode Island cabinet official. One of the sets of notes was handwritten and the other typed up, by a Tom Steyer representative.
The firm, CCI and the rest of their litigation industry have some more explaining to do.
Again courtesy of Energy Policy Advocates, we know that Rhode Island isn’t the only one offering up what Sher Edling also called “nefarious purposes” behind the demands for billions of dollars. Now that Oregon DoJ has found the original email/attachment
we can see CCI — a Rockefeller Family Fund vehicle that has popped up in the past year and a quarter as a major organizer and even financier of these climate lawsuits — offers the claim some “Context. Given increasing pressure on local and state budgets in the face of a global public health pandemic, it is increasingly important to identify new streams of revenue to address climate change”.
So, to be clear: activists, charitable foundations and the tort bar are recruiting governmental plaintiffs to sue the activists’ ideological opponents by touting that this can pay for your Big Green Spending Dreams, since — as the notes about Rhode Island clearly stated — lawmakers are reluctant to pass the direct tax hikes to pay for these ambitions. Yelling “catastrophe!” in court might work better than yelling it in legislative chambers.
Rhode Island’s lawyers’ characterization of this as a “nefarious purpose” is spot on.
Claiming that pointing it out is “conspiratorial” is merely, if badly, self-discrediting.