Republished by the Washington Times
By Chris Horner
The Climate Litigation Industry comes to SCOTUS
Social institutions have increasingly engaged as warriors in ideological and economically predatory legal disputes. These campaigns are usually coordinated between the Chamber of Trial Lawyers and ideologically committed donors and activists. The "Climate" newbies are particularly angry and are heading to the United States Supreme Court next week.
The question on Tuesday in Mayor and City of Baltimore against BP p.l.c. actually has nothing to do with climate change, but is responsible. However, by deciding whether these cases can be tried in local courts, which plaintiffs clearly see as their hope of reaping the desired profit, the court's decision could lead to or break a climate change industry.
Practitioners include a variety of nonprofit groups – both advocacy and charitable foundations – as well as universities and private law firms. The most worrying aspect of this effort was the participation of privately-employed activist attorneys who were brought into the offices of progressive attorneys-general by a major political donor, Michael Bloomberg. It smells like renting the offices.
The objectives of this process campaign are multiple and include muting dissenting voices on key national policy issues. mandatory regulation that has eluded proponents through legislative and rule-making processes; and receive hundreds of billions of dollars in financial settlements from target parties, some of which would be used to further sign the efforts of the attorneys and their partners, along with the condition that the litigation goals advocate the larger political agenda.
The plaintiffs' team regularly admit these things only to vehemently disapprove when specifically asked if this is an attempt to use the courts as a substitute for a failed political agenda that they simply did not sell to the public.
"Lawfare is an ugly tool to look for (se) environmental change," the Texas Court of Appeals wrote in a June 2020 statement on a case central to tackling this lightning bolt. County of Santa Cruz et al. v. Exxon Mobil Corp., this court downgraded the judiciary to do the work the other two branches of government can't or won't do to convince their constituents that (a) anthropogenic climate change has been definitively proven, and (b) must be resolved by crippling the energy industry. "
The Baltimore case will be heard on the final day of the Trump administration. This was a random schedule as Trump's attorney general was demanding time to argue, which signaled strong support for the defendants' position. In another token of the importance of the matter, the Biden Harris campaign pledged to "instruct the attorney general to … strategically support ongoing plaintiff-led climate disputes against polluters". However inappropriateness it may be, it is clear that if the Biden-Harris administration believed it could get away with it, it would only add to the urgency of this case.
As a Senator on the Judiciary Committee and facing the city of Baltimore, Kamala Harris raised then-Judge Amy Coney Barrett at Barrett's confirmation hearing with derisive questions about climate change.
On the other hand, a group that I advise and represent on a wide variety of matters, Energy Policy Advocates (EPA), a friend of the court in the Baltimore case, submitted emails to the court under the laws for public Records have been preserved and the true nature of this environmental dispute industry.
The recruiting team is touring the country calling on local government officials to hire the plaintiffs' crime company to file a “climate” charge on their behalf. E-mails show that potential litigants are tempted by the offer to represent them free of charge. That is, when they sign lucrative contingency fee agreements that give the plaintiffs' tort law firms a scale of ten to one hundred million dollars for a verdict or whatever they seem to really want to settle.
The EPA cited a number of emails from Fort Lauderdale, Florida outlining the network of publicly available groups that join the law firm. These include the Institute for Governance and Sustainable Development (IGSD) and a group called EarthRights International, all of whom were brought in by a politically affiliated lobbyist to broker the introductions.
It also recently became public that the leader in climate illicit acts has received millions in grants from at least one left-wing nonprofit foundation. This raises flags because, as one law professor noted, "it is reasonable to assume that" the grants are related to the contingent fee claims.
This is a bad look, and it soon found out that the same IGSD last seen in Florida recruiting emails has become a new channel for paying offenders to upset the climate.
Of course, an official with Climate Prosecutor Rhode Island admitted that his lawsuit was getting "sustainable funding" for his spending ambitions, but lawmakers would not provide for that. You can see how this industry has developed, nothing seems to be losing. That is, aside from the benefits of abundant, affordable, and reliable energy that both this process industry and its allied Green New Dealers are trying to destroy.
In short, next week's Mayor and City of Baltimore case is really about whether the abuse of this coordinated campaign between government, donors, ideologues and the litigation advocate will plague us and our economy for years. If the Supreme Court does the right thing, the shakedown will be closed and politics will be left to the democratic process.
Chris Horner is a Washington, DC attorney and a director of the law firm Government Accountability & Oversight, P.C.