Market Overview

Southern District of New York Dismisses Climate Change Case Against Chevron


Second Straight Defeat for Lawsuits Seeking to Punish Lawful Energy

The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York today
granted Chevron Corporation's Motion to Dismiss the climate change
lawsuit filed against it by the City of New York. This decision follows
the June 25th order by the U.S. District Court for the
Northern District of California, which dismissed substantively identical
complaints that the same plaintiffs' lawyers had filed against Chevron
on behalf of the cities of San Francisco and Oakland.

Judge John Keenan's decision said the claims in the lawsuits, filed
under New York state law, are governed by federal common law. "The
City's claims are ultimately based on the transboundary emission of
greenhouse gases, indicating that these claims arise under federal
common law and require a uniform standard of decision."

The court also ruled federal common law provides no remedy for climate
change-related injuries because, under binding U.S. Supreme Court
precedent, "the Clean Air Act displaces such federal common law claims."
This is because "Congress has expressly delegated to the EPA the
determination as to what constitutes a reasonable amount of greenhouse
gas emission under the Clean Air Act."

The court concluded, "given the interstate nature of these claims, it
would … be illogical to allow the City to bring state law claims when
courts have found that these matters are areas of federal concern that
have been delegated to the Executive Branch as they require a uniform,
national solution."

The court also addressed climate change litigation more broadly. "The
Court recognizes that the City, and many other governmental entities
around the United States and in other nations, will be forced to grapple
with the harmful impacts of climate change in the coming decades.
However, the immense and complicated problem of global warming requires
a comprehensive solution that weighs the global benefits of fossil fuel
use with the gravity of the impending harms. To litigate such an action
for injuries from foreign greenhouse gas emissions in federal court
would severely infringe upon the foreign-policy decisions that are
squarely within the purview of the political branches of the U.S.

"The court correctly recognized that climate change is a global issue
that requires a global solution by policymakers, not by the courts
through litigation," said R. Hewitt Pate, Chevron's vice president and
general counsel. "Relying on Supreme Court precedent, federal judges in
both New York and San Francisco have now held that these types of
lawsuits cannot proceed, whether asserted under federal law or state
law. It is time for this waste of taxpayer money and judicial resources
to end. Responsible leaders should engage in an honest conversation
about the policy issues of climate change rather than filing lawsuits
and vilifying the men and women who produce the reliable, affordable
energy upon which we all depend."

This order addresses a lawsuit filed by the City of New York City
against BP, Chevron, Conoco-Phillips, ExxonMobil and Royal Dutch Shell
that seeks to hold the oil and gas companies responsible for potential
future damage to the city from climate change. The suit, filed in
January 2018, claims that the companies are responsible for climate
change because they produced petroleum products that others—including
New York City itself—then use to carry out their essential activities,
in the process emitting greenhouse gases. The lawsuit seeks to hold
energy producers liable for creating a "public nuisance" by providing
products that third parties employ in a whole host of productive

The U.S. Supreme Court has already rejected similar claims in separate
cases against direct emitters of greenhouse gases such as power plants,
including claims by the same lawyers behind the more recent climate
change lawsuits.

Chevron Corporation is one of the world's leading integrated energy
companies. Through its subsidiaries that conduct business worldwide, the
company is involved in virtually every facet of the energy
industry. Chevron explores for, produces and transports crude oil and
natural gas; refines, markets and distributes transportation fuels and
lubricants; manufactures and sells petrochemicals and additives;
generates power; and develops and deploys technologies that enhance
business value in every aspect of the company's operations. Chevron is
based in San Ramon, Calif. More information about Chevron is available

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