Two states bail out of global warming lawsuit

Russell Cook
The riveting news events of the last several months buried three other news items that collectively indicate perhaps a far more critically important development. The global warming movement is rapidly losing one of its two remaining avenues for greenhouse gas regulation enforcement:  the courts.

Item #1 occurred on Jan 10th, when the Supreme Court denied the petition for mandamus filed by plaintiffs in the Comer v. Murphy Oil global warming nuisance lawsuit, which would have had the Supreme Court require the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals to re-examine the case. A web site analyzing the action said about the lack plaintiffs asking for more review by the courts:

This should be the end of the case because the plaintiffs did not file a petition for certiorari, but given how convoluted the lawsuit's path through the courts has been, perhaps there's a strange maneuver that could revive it.

Item #2 very quietly happened on February 11th:

Wisconsin has withdrawn from a Supreme Court case in which it defended a court of appeals decision that allowed a public nuisance lawsuit to proceed against American Electric Power and several other utilities for their greenhouse gas emissions (American Electric Power Co. v. Connecticut, U.S., No. 10-174, party withdrawn 2/21/11)

Item #3 relates to the same case initial case, Connecticut v. AEP, and happened just days ago:

New Jersey has withdrawn from a lawsuit brought by several states that sought to have five electric utilities cut the greenhouse gases emitted by their power plants in 20 states.... Eight states had initially brought the suit, along with New York City and three nonprofit land trusts seeking to combat global warming. But that number shrunk to seven in February, when Wisconsin dropped out of the suit.

American Electric Power will have its appeal heard by the Supreme Court sometime this spring, basically about whether the lawsuit has enough merit to be heard by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals. If the justices decide it does not, then this lawsuit dies just like Comer v. Murphy Oil.

There are highly problematic details in this case that might prompt the justices to ask questions beyond the Court's ability to enforce greenhouse gas regulation alongside the EPA. Essentially, the premise of the case only remains intact if they don't question why the architect of the entire lawsuit, one of the plaintiffs' lawyers for the nonprofit land trusts, is tied is to a small group of people whose main goal seems to have been to marginalize skeptic climate scientists. That group, anti-skeptic book author Ross Gelbspan, and enviro-activists at Ozone Action, are described in my December 2010 article as having based their central accusation on an out-of-context phrase taken from an otherwise unseen 1991 coal industry internal memo.

By focusing on why so much effort is made via unsupported accusations to portray skeptic scientists as corrupt cranks, the Supreme Court justices might not simply wipe out a lower court re-examination of a lawsuit mandating the regulation of greenhouse gases. Such questioning might instead prompt a complete re-examination of "man-caused global warming", and how it survives under unrestrained criticism from whistle blowers detailing why the IPCC is unable to support its own underlying science assessments. The revelation of 15+ years of journalistic malfeasance on this one issue, and all the repercussions from it, could end up being one of the bigger stories of the last two decades.

Russell Cook's complete collection of writings on this issue can be seen at "The ‘96-to-present smear of skeptic scientists - or at least what I've dredged up."
The riveting news events of the last several months buried three other news items that collectively indicate perhaps a far more critically important development. The global warming movement is rapidly losing one of its two remaining avenues for greenhouse gas regulation enforcement:  the courts.

Item #1 occurred on Jan 10th, when the Supreme Court denied the petition for mandamus filed by plaintiffs in the Comer v. Murphy Oil global warming nuisance lawsuit, which would have had the Supreme Court require the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals to re-examine the case. A web site analyzing the action said about the lack plaintiffs asking for more review by the courts:

This should be the end of the case because the plaintiffs did not file a petition for certiorari, but given how convoluted the lawsuit's path through the courts has been, perhaps there's a strange maneuver that could revive it.

Item #2 very quietly happened on February 11th:

Wisconsin has withdrawn from a Supreme Court case in which it defended a court of appeals decision that allowed a public nuisance lawsuit to proceed against American Electric Power and several other utilities for their greenhouse gas emissions (American Electric Power Co. v. Connecticut, U.S., No. 10-174, party withdrawn 2/21/11)

Item #3 relates to the same case initial case, Connecticut v. AEP, and happened just days ago:

New Jersey has withdrawn from a lawsuit brought by several states that sought to have five electric utilities cut the greenhouse gases emitted by their power plants in 20 states.... Eight states had initially brought the suit, along with New York City and three nonprofit land trusts seeking to combat global warming. But that number shrunk to seven in February, when Wisconsin dropped out of the suit.

American Electric Power will have its appeal heard by the Supreme Court sometime this spring, basically about whether the lawsuit has enough merit to be heard by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals. If the justices decide it does not, then this lawsuit dies just like Comer v. Murphy Oil.

There are highly problematic details in this case that might prompt the justices to ask questions beyond the Court's ability to enforce greenhouse gas regulation alongside the EPA. Essentially, the premise of the case only remains intact if they don't question why the architect of the entire lawsuit, one of the plaintiffs' lawyers for the nonprofit land trusts, is tied is to a small group of people whose main goal seems to have been to marginalize skeptic climate scientists. That group, anti-skeptic book author Ross Gelbspan, and enviro-activists at Ozone Action, are described in my December 2010 article as having based their central accusation on an out-of-context phrase taken from an otherwise unseen 1991 coal industry internal memo.

By focusing on why so much effort is made via unsupported accusations to portray skeptic scientists as corrupt cranks, the Supreme Court justices might not simply wipe out a lower court re-examination of a lawsuit mandating the regulation of greenhouse gases. Such questioning might instead prompt a complete re-examination of "man-caused global warming", and how it survives under unrestrained criticism from whistle blowers detailing why the IPCC is unable to support its own underlying science assessments. The revelation of 15+ years of journalistic malfeasance on this one issue, and all the repercussions from it, could end up being one of the bigger stories of the last two decades.

Russell Cook's complete collection of writings on this issue can be seen at "The ‘96-to-present smear of skeptic scientists - or at least what I've dredged up."