George Mason University Antonin Scalia Law School

Climate Change, Torts, State Law, and Congress: A Discussion on the April 1, 2021 Second Circuit Decision in City of New York v. Chevron Corp.

Event Details

  • Date:
  • Division: Civil Justice Academy

Increasingly, state and federal courts are being asked to adjudicate public nuisance, fraud, and other state tort claims designed to create liability for actions alleged to contribute to climate change. This webinar will discuss a critical decision in one such case.

On April 1, 2021, in the case of City of New York v. Chevron Corp. et al, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit held, inter alia, the following regarding a lawsuit brought against energy companies attempting to use state tort law seeking to recover damages for the harms caused by global warming: “First, global warming is a uniquely international concern that touches upon issues of federalism and foreign policy. As a result, it calls for the application of federal common law, not state law. Second, the Clean Air Act grants the Environmental Protection Agency – not federal courts – the authority to regulate domestic greenhouse gas emissions. Federal common law actions concerning such emissions are therefore displaced. Lastly, while the Clean Air Act has nothing to say about regulating foreign emissions, judicial caution and foreign policy concerns counsel against permitting such claims to proceed under federal common law absent congressional direction. And since no such permission exists, each of the City’s claims is barred and its complaint must be dismissed.”

A balanced panel of experts will discuss this April 1 Second Circuit opinion, its ramifications for similar litigation pending across the federal and state court systems, and issues of federalism, separation of powers, and the general role of the courts and Congress in the ongoing debate over climate change policy.

Join us for a vibrant discussion of these issues with a panel of distinguished experts:

John Culhane, Professor of Law and Co-Director of the Family Health Law & Policy Institute, Widener University Delaware Law School

Mark W. DeLaquil, Partner, BakerHostetler

Walter Olson, Senior Fellow, Cato Institute

Catherine M. Sharkey, Segal Family Professor of Regulatory Law and Policy, New York University School of Law

Moderator: Jennifer Hijazi, Senior Air Reporter, Bloomberg Industry

Please see below for the video recording of this event or click here to watch!