Ground-breaking climate change case reinstated
24 November 2009
In 2004 8 US States, the City of New York and 3 land trusts brought a civil case against 5 large US power companies in the District Court in Manhattan alleging that they were creating a public nuisance by their emissions. The Plaintiffs sought an injunction from the Court to limit the power companies' emissions of greenhouse gases.
The case was dismissed in September 2005 by the District Court judge on the basis that decisions on limits to be placed on emissions was a political matter and should not be dealt with by the courts. On 21 September 2009 the US Court of Appeals overturned that decision and remanded the case back to the District Court Judge for further proceedings.
The importance of the case to organisations which can be said to contribute significantly to climate change can perhaps be best summarised by a quotation from the lawyer representing the plaintiffs who said "Global Warming polluters everywhere: you are on notice that you are committing a tort and we will sue you".
We have written various articles and briefings on the subject of Climate Change Litigation and the possibility of it in the UK which are available on request.