George Mason University Antonin Scalia Law School

Climate Change in the Courts: A Perfect Storm of Litigation

Event Details

  • Date:
  • Venue: Dirksen Senate Office Building, Room 226
  • Division: Civil Justice Academy

Frustrated by what they perceive as a lack of progress on climate change-related regulation, a number of American cities, municipalities, and groups of concerned citizens are taking action into their own hands by filing lawsuits against fossil fuel companies over the industry’s role in global warming. San Francisco, Oakland, and New York, are among the list of at least nine cities and counties seeking compensation for rising sea levels, extreme weather events, and unforeseen disasters they claim are caused by carbon emissions and climate change. To date, courts have broadly held that Congress is the appropriate branch to regulate emissions, and that diplomats and regulators are better equipped than judges to address the global issue of climate policy.

Despite limited success in the courts, the number of liability and public nuisance suits is growing rapidly. And if successful, the lawsuits could have a substantial impact on the source and supply of energy throughout the country. But how should these cases be resolved? Join us as our panel of experts discuss the status of the cases and the claims being made, and offer their insights and predictions on the future of climate change litigation.


This Congressional Civil Justice Academy briefing features:

Phil Goldberg, ​Director, Progressive Policy Institute Center for Civil Justice

William Buzbee, Professor of Law, Georgetown Law Center

Gregory Conko, Deputy Director, Law & Economics Center