New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio's climate change lawsuit is, so far, unsuccessful, as a federal judge has thrown it out of court. Federal judges continue to reject the efforts of private lawyers who hold a financial stake in lawsuits brought by government officials against the oil industry over the alleged effects of climate change. On Thursday, a New York federal judge dismissed the lawsuit brought by New York City and attorneys at Hagens Berman working on a contingency fee against five of the biggest oil companies in the world, finding that the issue has already been decided by the U.S. Supreme Court. It's not the job of the judiciary to regulate greenhouse gases, Judge John Keenan wrote. That task rests with the federal government, says Keenan's opinion, endorsing the thoughts of the California federal judge who tossed lawsuits from San Francisco and Oakland in June.
This story was originally published by The New Republic and is reproduced here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration. Wealthy environmentalists and greedy attorneys are trying to stuff their already-fat pockets by suing defenseless companies over their contributions to global warming. They allege that energy manufacturers create a "public nuisance" by emitting greenhouse gases and are liable for the damages this causes. Worse, they disguise themselves as do-gooders: They represent plaintiffs like Alaska Native American tribes who are losing their frozen land to warming temperatures, and communities impacted by sea-level rise. But these con artists aren't really trying to save the planet.
For the second time this summer, a federal judge acknowledged that oil companies are unquestionably responsible for the greenhouse gases amassing in the atmosphere, warming the planet and causing seas to rise. But district court judge John Keenan ultimately ruled that courts aren't a good place to decide whether oil companies are responsible for the environmental damages wrought by the sale of their fossils fuels. On Thursday, Keenan tossed out New York City's lawsuit against Chevron, ExxonMobil, and other oil giants, explaining that "the immense and complicated problem of global warming" requires a global solution -- involving Congress and the president -- because courts aren't equipped to solve such a world-encompassing problem. In the short-term, this could appear as two telling victories for oil companies, who have no interest in being liable for past, current, and future damages inflicted by rising seas, drought, and extreme flooding. But fossil fuel producers are far from absolved.