With Congress and Trump on sidelines, climate change battle moves to courts

 

When the state of New York went to court this week to accuse Exxon Mobil of misleading investors, it was just the latest demonstration by cities, counties, states and even a group of young Americans that they are fed up waiting for corporations, Congress or the White House to take action on global warming. The lawsuit by New York Attorney General Barbara D. Underwood seeks to use the state’s tough securities laws to force the petroleum giant to publicly acknowledge the huge costs it will face as it grapples with human-caused climate change. Like an earlier lawsuit against the U.S. government on behalf of 21 young U.S. citizens, the New York case will have to break legal ground to force increased transparency and action to rein in climate-warming greenhouse gases, experts said. Cities, counties and states are using another set of lawsuits in their own attempts to hold fossil fuel companies financially liable for global warming, but earlier such attempts failed — sending the governments searching for a new path to victory. “As people who care about climate change become more frustrated at the failure of the administration and Congress to act, they increasingly turn to the courts for relief,” said Michael Gerrard, director of Columbia University’s Sabin Center for Climate Change Law. “And as climate change impacts get worse and worse and there is still no action, we could see a lot more of this.” The New York lawsuit came after a three-year state probe, which followed an investigation by InsideClimate News and other media outlets. With Congress and Trump on sidelines, climate change battle moves to courts

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