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Lead Attorney for Activists Admits: “These Lawsuits Are Not About … Climate Change”

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Blog, Independent Petroleum Association of America

Why does Energy In Depth – a research program of the Independent Petroleum Association of America – have a website on climate litigation and the #ExxonKnew campaign? Simple: because these...

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  • Jan 14, 2021

As the U.S. Supreme Court prepares to hear oral arguments in BP P.L.C., et al. v. Mayor and City Council of Baltimore, it’s important to remember that this case – and the several other climate lawsuits leveled against energy producers in recent years – are not driven by the desire to address climate change. Rather, these efforts are part of a politically motivated campaign to pressure major energy companies to stop producing traditional energy while generating massive payouts for the lawyers and activist groups involved.

As Vic Sher, the partner at the law firm Sher Edling, who is arguing Baltimore’s case in front of the high court, said at the 2018 Environmental Law Conference at Yosemite:

“These are state law doctrine, and I agree very much that these cases are not about stalling climate change. They’re about damages that particular communities have to pay, the cost of localized, particularized impacts on these communities.” (emphasis added)

In stark contrast, American energy companies are utilizing breakthrough technologies to address climate change, as Energy In Depth has noted. This includes carbon capture and storage systems, a commitment to end routine flaring, improving emissions efficiency, developing tools to improve leak prevention, detection, and repairs, especially methane emissions.

This is progress that is taking place right now, as opposed to climate lawsuits that, as the Susan Herdina, the Corporation Counsel for Charleston, S.C. said as that city introduced its case last year, “It will take some time to get through this process, but, we can wait.”

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