New Climate Suits Filed Grounded in "Knew"-Since-1965 Claim - Climate Litigation Watch

New Climate Suits Filed Grounded in “Knew”-Since-1965 Claim

Lead attorney admitted arranging for study in YouTube speech

The City of Charleston, SC and State of Delaware have filed similar ‘climate nuisance’ lawsuits against differing if somewhat overlapping populations of energy and related interests. These are the latest salvos in the climate litigation industry’s nationwide campaign to extract settlements modeled on the tobacco settlement. The argument is that these businesses wrongly provided energy resources to the world because everyone in the world including the defendants and their customers knew, from 1965 through the present day, that they caused catastrophic man-made global warming.

As CLW revealed late last year, the basis for the claims was arranged for by the attorney leading the campaign, and these most recent suits, Vic Sher, according to Sher in a talk given to UCLA law students in October 2017.

15:26: “So how do we link emissions to specific corporate emitters? You know, obviously if you can’t tell who’s doing it, you have a problem. Well, here, we’ve been working primarily with an expert named Rick HEEDE who is with an outfit called the Climate Accountability Project in Colorado…

17:30: Now, when Rick and I started talking, his original [2014] article went back to I think the 1850s, maybe it was 1874. And I asked him how many companies, that are either U.S. companies or do sufficient business in the United States so we can sue them here, would it take to get to 25% of all of the global emissions, globally, did I mention that – in the world – between 1965 and 2015. We were having this conversation in 2016.

18:45 “Now, let me step back for a second. Why did I choose 25%, and what’s the significance of these figures? Well, in order to prevail, um, uh, on a court claim, a plaintiff has to prove that it’s more likely than not that a defendant or a group of defendants were substantial contributors to the injury that the plaintiff has suffered. And I thought that one in every four tons of carbon emissions during this period during the great acceleration would unquestionably satisfy this substantiality, uh, requirement.”

UCLA’s Emmett Institute and faculty are assisting the litigation campaign, which has become a popular focus of activist-donor-sponsored university centers, as noted on CLW, e.g., here.