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Climate Change

Global Warming : Public Nuisance

The floodgates of change may well open in the United States of America. It appears that power companies can be brought to court for the public nuisance of Global Warming…

https://www.thepoptort.com/2009/09/yowsa-major-environmental-ruling-in-greenhouse-gas-case.html

“September 30, 2009 : Yowsa! Major Environmental Ruling in Greenhouse Gas Case!”

“Corporate polluters have been getting hauled into court for many years for lotsa reasons, one being that their dirty activities are a “public nuisance”…”

“Well now, thanks to a landmark New York federal court ruling, this “public nuisance” theory has been applied in a major global warming case brought by eight states, New York City and environmental groups.”

“In a nutshell, the court panel (which consisted of two Republican appointees) found that the nation’s largest coal-burning utilities could be held accountable for global warming.”

“In other words, “Now it is clear that global warming can be litigated as a tort,” said Mathew Pawa, a Massachusetts-based attorney involved in the suit. “That’s a game changer even though the court was just applying well-established law.”…”


https://www.ca2.uscourts.gov/decisions/isysquery/d61f676c-fe65-4781-9551-c10d17104dba/1/doc/05-5104-cv_opn.pdf#xml=https://www.ca2.uscourts.gov/decisions/isysquery/d61f676c-fe65-4781-9551-c10d17104dba/1/hilite/

STATE OF CONNECTICUT, STATE OF NEW YORK, PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA EX REL. ATTORNEY GENERAL BILL LOCKYER, STATE OF IOWA, STATE OF NEW JERSEY, STATE OF RHODE ISLAND, STATE OF VERMONT, STATE OF WISCONSIN, AND CITY OF NEW YORK, Plaintiffs-Appellants,

-v.-

AMERICAN ELECTRIC POWER COMPANY INC., AMERICAN ELECTRIC POWER SERVICE CORPORATION, SOUTHERN COMPANY, TENNESSEE VALLEY AUTHORITY, XCEL ENERGY, INC., AND CINERGY CORPORATION, Defendants-Appellees.

OPEN SPACE INSTITUTE, INC., OPEN SPACE CONSERVANCY, INC., AUDUBON SOCIETY OF NEW HAMPSHIRE, Plaintiffs-Appellants,

-v.-

AMERICAN ELECTRIC POWER COMPANY INC., AMERICAN ELECTRIC POWER SERVICE CORPORATION, SOUTHERN COMPANY, TENNESSEE VALLEY AUTHORITY, XCEL ENERGY, INC., AND CINERGY CORPORATION, Defendants-Appellees.

In 2004, two groups of Plaintiffs, one consisting of eight States and New York City, and the other consisting of three land trusts (collectively “Plaintiffs”), separately sued the same six electric power corporations that own and operate fossil-fuel-fired power plants in twenty states (collectively “Defendants”), seeking abatement of Defendants’ ongoing contributions to the public nuisance of global warming. Plaintiffs claim that global warming, to which Defendants contribute as the “five largest emitters of carbon dioxide in the United States and . . . among the largest in the world,” Connecticut v. Am. Elec. Power Co., 406 F. Supp. 2d 265, 268 (S.D.N.Y. 2005), by emitting 650 million tons per year of carbon dioxide, is causing and will continue to cause serious harms affecting human health and natural resources. They explain that carbon dioxide acts as a greenhouse gas that traps heat in the earth’s atmosphere, and that as a result of this trapped heat, the earth’s temperature has risen over the years and will continue to rise in the future. Pointing to a “clear scientific consensus” that global warming has already begun to alter the natural world, Plaintiffs predict that it “will accelerate over the coming decades unless action is taken to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide.” Plaintiffs brought these actions under the federal common law of nuisance or, in the alternative, state nuisance law, to force Defendants to cap and then reduce their carbon dioxide emissions.

With regard to air pollution, particularly greenhouse gases, this case occupies a niche similar to the one Milwaukee I occupied with respect to water pollution. With that in mind, the concluding words of Milwaukee I have an eerie resonance almost forty years later. To paraphrase: “It may happen that new federal laws and new federal regulations may in time pre-empt the field of federal common law of nuisance. But until that comes to pass, federal courts will be empowered to appraise the equities of the suits alleging creation of a public nuisance” by greenhouse gases. Milwaukee I, 406 U.S. at 106.


One reply on “Global Warming : Public Nuisance”

We should be more concerned about Global Warming and Climate Change because Typhoons are getting much stronger and there are greater incidence of Flooding. take for example the recent Typhoon Ketsana which devastated some countries in South East Asia.

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