Even Lawyers Supporting Climate Lawsuits Are Skeptical About Their Success

One of the attorneys responsible for targeting oil companies’ climate records is skeptical about the prospects of winning lawsuits against Exxon Mobil and other companies over global warming.

New York City and other coastal cities will have a difficult time suing oil producers for contributing to global warming, Michael Burger, who heads the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia University, told Axios Monday.

Burger’s group was partially responsible for a series of reports in 2015 suggesting that Exxon hid knowledge about climate change from the public for decades. Columbia University, The Los Angeles Times and InsideClimate News conducted reports criticizing the oil company.

“I think these are very tough cases to win,” Burger said, noting that the political nature of climate change and the need to trace precise amounts of causation and blame against the oil industry. He was referring to a bevy of lawsuits filed earlier this month from Los Angeles, Oakland and New York City that seek to hold fossil fuel companies responsible for climate change.

Nevertheless, Burger is excited about the prospect of such litigation.

“The extent of culpability with the degree of knowledge and what they decided to do has not had a chance to be fully aired in court,” he said.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio believes the five largest oil companies contributed to climate conditions that he says fed the destructive force of Superstorm Sandy in 2012. He is suing for compensation.

Sandy killed 53 people and caused nearly $19 billion in damage. New York’s recovery has included resiliency projects to strengthen the city against future natural disasters. De Blasio, a Democrat, wants the oil companies to pay for the improvements.

His lawsuit is fashioned around similar ones leveled against tobacco companies decades ago. “The tobacco lawsuits were crucial to changing the public understanding about tobacco,” de Blasio said at a press conference after announcing the decision. “So these actions today we see as crucial to changing the assumptions.”

DeBlasio’s lawsuit comes on the heels of New York attorney general Eric Schneiderman’s probes into Exxon’s climate history – his investigation has taken many twists and turns. One of the turns prompted the Washington Post to report last year that “New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has gotten very far away from where he started in his office’s investigation into ExxonMobil.”

Legal analysts suggested last year that Schneiderman’s initial claims, which suggest Exxon had been hiding information about global warming for decades, were unlikely to bear much fruit in a court of law.

Read more at Daily Caller

Comments (3)

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    They are keen on lawsuits that line their pockets at tax payer expense .
    The Mueller and Clinton Friends shake down of tax payers continues at $30,000 per day based largely on a fraud dossier paid for by the Clinton Foundation/ DNC and the FBI .
    The scam investigation will take longer to conclude no collusion
    than the entire election campaign took . The Clintons are the gift that keeps giving to insiders of a corrupt fifth estate . Well at least for a couple of months .
    Mueller needs to be investigated for the cover up the Clinton
    Uranium 1 sell out for $ 148,000 million and the other dirt bags leading the FBI “insurance policy ” against a duly elected President . Hillary was wrong , if that F…g bastard gets elected they are all going to hang . Nah… just a long jail term .
    She needed to get her book out because any cash they got from pay to play is going to be gone . Funny how the donations to the Clinton Foundation have just crashed .
    I hope EXXON sues the promoters of this frivolous lawsuit because tax payers have not supported the scam lawsuit and should not have to pay costs when these NY A holes lose .

  • Avatar

    Spurwing Plover


    The Sierra Club Legal Defense Fund,the NRDC,EDF,Earth Justice, and Center for Biological Diversity lining their pockets with plenty of green with big $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$’s all over it and getting the usial Useful Idiots from Hollywod like Robert Redford,Leonardo DiCaprio John Travolta Etc to do junk mail ads for them with pictures of Polar Bears Floundering around in the water and the little computer inserts from the NRDC wailing and whining against Trump and Drilling for Oil I myself used to get junk mail from the Sierra Club with Robert Redford and i dont care for these Eco-Wackos and the Hollywood Hypotcrites who support them

  • Avatar

    David Lewis


    As already stated, these law suits are bogus because even the IPCC admits that extreme weather events are not increasing.

    One thing to remember about lawyers is they do what they are hired to do. If that means getting paid tax payer money to argue a bogus law suit, they will do it.

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