REPORT: More Than 100 ‘Climate Change Cases’ Filed In US Courts In 2017

Michael Bastasch | Energy Editor

Dozens of lawsuits concerning man-made global warming were filed in U.S. courts last year, according to a new report.

The Sabin Center for Climate Change Law found more than 100 lawsuits “raised claims concerning either the impacts of climate change or reducing GHG emissions” were filed in U.S. courts in 2017.

Most notably, seven California cities and counties filed suit against oil companies over alleged damages caused by man-made global warming. Two more cities — Richmond, California and New York City — joined the effort in 2018, but now plaintiffs are scrambling to address discrepancies in their bond offerings.

However, the Sabin Center’s report focused on 82 “climate change cases” related to the Trump administration’s regulatory efforts. Federal agencies have been busy rescinding Obama administration rules, including many energy and climate rules.

Most of the suits were filed in support of Obama administration regulations — most of those were brought by environmental groups and Democratic state attorneys general, according to the report.

“Many of these cases concern environmental review and permitting decisions for individual programs and projects that cumulatively shape national climate policy,” reads the report.

“Some seek to increase transparency and expose allegedly illegal workings within the federal government,” reads the report. “Still others seek to fill the void of federal climate change leadership — a ‘litigate-to-mitigate’ strategy.”

NOW WATCH:

The lawsuit frenzy started quickly after President Donald Trump took office. Trump made deregulation a major priority in his first year, delaying or rescinding hundreds of Obama-era rules.

By May, environmental groups had filed dozens of lawsuits challenging Trump administration decisions and policies.

For example, the Center for Biological Diversity alone had filed 15 lawsuits against the Trump administration by that time, including one challenging the proposed U.S.-Mexico border wall on environmental grounds.

The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) has filed a slew of lawsuits against the Trump administration as well, including regulations on household appliances.

The Obama administration implemented the rules as part of the former president’s “Climate Action Plan.” NRDC argues those rules are essential to fighting global warming.

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman led a coalition of Democratic-held states, and New York City, in their legal battle against the Trump administration delaying rules for household appliances.

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