PLF files brief aruging suit over global warming is non-justiciable


Author: Luke A. Wake

Pacific Legal Foundation has filed an amicus brief in Kivalina v. Exxon Mobile Corp, in support of numerous energy companies named as defendants. The suit seeks to hold those companies liable for their proportional and undifferentiated contributions to the international problem of climate change on a novel nuisance theory. Environmentalists have begun advancing such suits in an effort to force companies to begin reducing green-house gas emissions; however, it remains unclear whether such suits can prevail, and whether they will be successful in forcing businesses to curtail their green house gas emissions enough to affect climate change. In this case, the native village of Kivalina, Alaska asserts that they are entitled to sue the defendant energy companies because global warming is accelerating erosion, which now threatens their coastal community.

PLF argues, as it did in Comer v. Murphy Oil, that the political question doctrine, and standing requirements, prevent the court from addressing the merits of the plaintiff’s contentions.