High Court Hears Arguments on Climate Change: State or Fed Jurisdiction?

“Cities, counties and states suing the fossil fuel industry want state courts to award damages. But industry says it’s a federal, if not a global, concern.”

“Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh wasted no time cutting to the chase during a hearing Tuesday in a climate change case in which the City of Baltimore is seeking potentially billions in damages from the fossil fuel industry related to climate-induced extreme weather and sea level rise.

Although the narrow issue before the court pertained to a procedural ruling by a lower court, the justice wanted to know, far more broadly, whether the case was best suited for federal or state courts.

Kavanaugh’s question came during a hearing to resolve whether the Fourth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals had erred in affirming a federal district judge’s opinion to send Baltimore’s suit against 26 fossil fuel companies back to state court to decide whether the industry should compensate the city for damages from intensified hurricanes, increased flooding and rising sea levels.”

David Hasemyer reports for Inside Climate News January 20, 2021.

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