Breaking News: Fraud Claims Against Exxon Mobil Dismissed in Landmark Trial

Early this morning the court cleared Exxon Mobil in hotly contested litigation that was pending in New York. In a bench trial[1], which took place in October 2019, the New York State attorney general alleged that Exxon defrauded investors by inflating their value with internal climate risk metrics. Additionally, several have alleged that such misrepresentations have led to significant impacts on climate change globally. Today, the court ruled that the New York attorney general failed to present sufficient evidence to
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An Exercise in Separation of Powers: Second Circuit Signals Affirmance of Dismissal of NYC Climate Change Lawsuit

“Global warming and solutions thereto must be addressed by the two other branches of government,” said district court judge John Keenan last July in nixing New York City’s climate change nuisance suit that seeks to hold major oil companies liable for global-warming related injuries resulting from greenhouse gas emissions. New York City appealed Judge Keenan’s dismissal to the second circuit, arguing that its action is not an attempt to regulate emissions. Late last week, hearing New York City’s appeal of
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Next-Gen Nuclear Gaining Steam as Green Power Alternative with Governmental Partnerships

In early October 2019, the United States Department of Energy (DOE) and the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) executed a memorandum of understanding to share technical resources and expertise to accelerate the development and implementation of advanced nuclear technologies. Under the agreement, the DOE would run a National Reactor Innovation Center (NRIC) with a goal of funneling private sector funds to the testing and validation of reactor concepts, and would assist potential providers of advanced nuclear technology with guidance
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To Remove or Not Remove – Complete Preemption is the Question!

An interesting dichotomy is developing in how federal courts are determining the proper forum for climate change lawsuits, that is whether they should be heard in state or federal court. This question, while seemingly a technical matter of civil procedure, could be fundamental to whether current and future climate change suits will be successful or whether they will be heard at all. The technical issue at stake is preemption – whether federal issues are determinative of the matters raised in
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Congratulations, World! Atmospheric CO2 Levels Have Not Been This High in the Past Three Million Years

The world set a new record in May 2019, at least on a human perspective. Atmospheric concentrations of CO2 reached 415.26 ppm on May 14, as recorded at the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii, a level not seen in the past three million years.   To put that into perspective, the last time atmospheric concentrations of CO2 were this high, there were no humans on Earth. This was the Pliocene Epoch, where global temperatures were on average 2-3°C (3.6-5.8°F) higher
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Advanced Nuclear Power Legislation Introduced and Touted as Antidote to Climate Change

In late March, a group of fifteen bipartisan senators reintroduced the Nuclear Energy Leadership Act (NELA) bill to the Senate. This legislation was originally introduced in September of 2018, but was not voted on before the Congressional session ended at the end of the year. It is being lauded as an important means for battling climate change and to support the promotion of non-fossil fuel based energy in the United States. Early agreement across party aisles is encouraging. As advanced,
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The Replacements: DC Circuit Partially Vacates EPA’s HFC Rule

Last week, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit invalidated part of a 2016 EPA rule that made hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) unacceptable for various uses in aerosols, automobile air conditioners, commercial refrigerators, and foams. In the waning years of the Obama presidency, EPA made an effort to combat climate change by enacting two rules restricting the use of HFCs, which are greenhouse gases. EPA claimed it had authority to do so under Title VI of the Clean Air Act.
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Yet Another One Bites the Dust – Latest Climate Change Lawsuit Dismissed in Pennsylvania

In what definitely is becoming a pattern, yet another climate change lawsuit has been dismissed. On February 19, 2019, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania dismissed the case Clean Air Council, et al. v. United States of America, Civ. No. 17-4977. With this dismissal, six significant climate change lawsuits, and several more questionable suits, now have been rejected by different US courts around the country: [in addition to Clean Air Council, what can be considered
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Business Climate Changes for Oil and Gas Industry in the West

Despite booming operations due to shale gas discoveries in recent years, the business climate for the oil and gas industry in the western United States is suffering because of recent political changes and public concerns over, well, climate change. We start in New Mexico, where Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham inked an executive order in January calling for the state to slash its greenhouse gas emissions by at least 45 percent from 2005 levels by 2030, becoming the latest newly minted Democratic
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What’s at Stake? Two Different Approaches to Climate Change – Part II The NHTSA Fuel-Efficient Vehicle Rule Draft Environmental Impact Statement

As introduced in Part I of this two part posting, two recently released documents – the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report, Global Warming of 1.5°C Summary for Policymakers (IPCC Summary), issued on October 8, 2018, and the Safer Affordable Fuel-Efficient Vehicles Rule for Model Year 2021-2026 Passenger Cars and Light Trucks Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), issued by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in July 2018 – provide a stark contrast in how to respond to the threat
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