Admission: Climate Litigation is Tool to Make Industry Bend a Knee

via Climate Litigation Watch

h/t Energy Policy Advocates for the following acknowledgement by a Boulder City official, from early on in this second wave of “climate nuisance” litigation, about the objective. Here again we see its practitioners conceding that “nuisance” litigation is a tool to force the targeted industries to sue for peace, by agreeing to lobby for legislative adoption of policies that are demonstrably harmful to the broader economy, and particularly to seniors and the poor.

Such hostage-taking is of course a troubling use of the courts, but also a reminder that the judiciary is being used as a proxy for the democratic process, which to date has denied the climate industry its larger, desired spoils.

This reminds CLW of the recently re-encountered confession of the very same animating principle behind the first symptom-cases of this litigation epidemic, by then-AG (now Senator) of Connecticut Richard Blumenthal.

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Joel O'Bryan
July 27, 2020 2:23 pm

Weaponizing the legal system against political enemies is what Democrats, dictators, and banana republics do.

Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
July 27, 2020 2:57 pm

Democrats, dictators and banana republics.
That’s redunantly redundant.

Reply to  MarkW
July 28, 2020 2:22 am

“redunantly redundant”?

Thanks, MarkW, that made me smile.

Stay safe and healthy, all.

Reply to  MarkW
July 28, 2020 6:58 am

you can say that again…repeatedly …

Pat from kerbob
Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
July 27, 2020 2:58 pm

Fascists and communists, using the system to destroy the system

Reply to  Pat from kerbob
July 27, 2020 4:14 pm

The same left of center ideological bent that favors democratic or dictatorial solutions.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
July 27, 2020 7:43 pm

“Weaponizing the legal system against political enemies is what Democrats, dictators, and banana republics do.”

And Leftwing Billionaires.

John Endicott
Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
July 28, 2020 3:05 am

Democrats, dictators, and banana republics

you repeat yourself there.

July 27, 2020 2:31 pm

Downtown Boulder currently looks like a ghost town with numerous businesses all boarded up and numerous restaurants, bars and shops likely to remain closed and to file bankruptcy. University students basically vacated town in mid March and it remains to be seen how many decide to take off at least the next semester. Tourism is similarly dead.

I would make the point that Boulder itself will face difficult financial conditions because of lost tax revenue. Many city staff positions will be eliminated at least for a while. I would hope that the city’s immediate focus will be to deliver necessary services and to forego its climate forays. It’s in the process of expensive litigation to condemn the XCEL’s municipal electrical system within the city. I suspect that Boulder may even have to delay this dubious endeavor.

Reply to  Scissor
July 29, 2020 9:59 am

It must be pointed out that Jonathan Koehn is not some disinterested bystander – he is the Environmental Affairs Manager for City of Boulder and Regional Sustainability Program czar. Three years ago, his salary was about $115K and total compensation probably exceeded $130K. He is neck-deep in this baseless lawsuit and has been fully involved in the city’s efforts to sever its contract with Xcel Energy (electricity and gas provider), acquire its physical assets, and run a municipal electric company – to Save the Planet, you know.
Municipalization has been a slow-rolling car wreck for more than 10 years and has consumed (by some accounts) more than $30 million for lawyers and “plans” – all without generating a single watt of “Green Carbon-Free Energy”.
His boss (City Manager Brautigam) just announced her retirement ($250K+ salary), probably tumbling to the fact that you can’t fund bogus sustainability programs and social justice warrior projects when tax income is down 30% – and not coming back for a long time, as Scissor notes.
Time to brush up the resumes, boys, and take the medicine show to the next town of fools.

Thank God I left 4 years ago. Time for popcorn!

July 27, 2020 3:00 pm

Whatever there;
Saving the world, as in holier than whatever, or virtue signaling, or the higher moral ground attitude,
or simply lead by insanity, stupidity or the urge to invoke chaos and destruction for whatever reason;

the main question to be asked here is: “who actually does fund and pay for all this charade destructive mess”!
It can not persist at such depth and scale without proper organized funding and the required high payments.

No one is that rich!

How could this be!?



Patrick Healy
Reply to  whiten
July 28, 2020 2:31 am

Now that is a real puzzle!
I read somewhere that a certain very rich “gentleman” was paying the wages of certain “lawyers” he has implanted into several Marxist cities across the U.S..
It is so maddening this senility I suffer from prevents me from remembering his name.
I seem to remember he worked for the “natzies ” by targeting fellow Jews in a European country.
Can any one here refresh my memory/ sarc

Reply to  Patrick Healy
July 28, 2020 7:12 am

Certainly, It is He who must NOT be named (or the bags of cash will cease), He who was in reality a camp guard, who stole the identity of a person he had just shoved into the oven.

Pat from kerbob
July 27, 2020 3:02 pm

In Canada we have many municipalities passing “climate emergency” resolutions, so we end up with the absurd spectacle of tourist havens like Victoria and Whistler BC declaring climate emergencies on the same websites where they brag about how many tourists come annually and how many millions they are spending to attract more to come.
All arriving via hydrocarbon conveyance

I cannot begin describe how depressed it makes me that democratically elected representatives in my country can be so unremittingly stupid.

It literal hurts me

Reply to  Pat from kerbob
July 27, 2020 3:56 pm

Similarly, Boulder is a nuclear free zone.

M Seward
Reply to  Pat from kerbob
July 27, 2020 4:34 pm

This is the toxic aftershock of so callled ‘social media’. In the past there might be a speakers platform in a corner of a public park where activists or others with a bone to pick might stand up in public and vent their point or just vent their spleen. If it actually resonated it might catch on but there was a natural filter in place which kept it all at a proportionate effect. If an issue was big enough then a newspaper might pick it up and people might protest in the streets such as with workers campaigning for better pay and conditions, women for the vote or to oppose conscription and the war in Vietnam etc.

Now we have all these virtual platforms and a mainstream media under commercial pressure from mega competitors such that every imbecile on the planet can find themselves an ‘influencer’ overnight if they come up with the right concoction of burlesque performance and out there consipracy.

My take on this is that the a/v social media are becoming the Thalidomide of the 21st century. Sure they allow everyone to put their ideas out there but there are no effective filters and the disabling, deforming effect on the social and political discourse is the real issue. Just looking at the BLM protest in the US and the armed counter protests tells you this is way out of proportion. Yes George Floyd’s killing was appalling, as was Rayshard Brookes’, and social media did its job exposing real crimes that would otherwise have been more easily covered over but both sides of the overflow in say Portland are just nuts.

The sort of vexatious nonsense evidenced by this post is just the sort of pond slime ego-politics that evolves in such an environment. Its not about actually winning in court, its about being seen to be an eco-martyr when they lose or, in the outside chance of even a lower court win, being an eco-saint/god. Similar;y its not about actually saving black lives its about being seen to be out there in the anonymous mob or in the counter mob , armed to the teeth.

Rud Istvan
July 27, 2020 3:08 pm

Speaking as an HLS trained lawyer licensed in 1976, not a snowball’s chance in hell this succeeds. This admission alone kills this effort.

First litigation wave from 2012 Scripps Planning meeting ‘like tobacco’ Merchants of Doubt failed on facts. WAS NOT like big tobacco.

Second litigation wave based on public nuisance common law doctrine is also failing sverywhere, cause (a) Climate Change does not fit the doctrine definition, and (b) there is no imminent harm as required by that doctrine.

Legal amateurs failing about in a failed overly liberal court system, as they steadily lose public support except in already wacko jurisdictions like this one.

Joel O'Bryan
Reply to  Rud Istvan
July 27, 2020 5:47 pm

For these types of ambulance chasers, its like playing the lottery for regular folks. Odds of winning either the lottery or the litigation are quite low. But the pay-outs though are mega-millions even on a contingency fee basis, so the lure is there.

Reply to  Rud Istvan
July 27, 2020 6:36 pm

“Legal amateurs failing about in a”

I believe you meant flailing about. However there is a sense of justice regarding the way you put it.

July 27, 2020 3:20 pm

I have always thought someone should go through with one of these cases to force the litigant to prove damages. The court is not the right place to debate science but it may be the only venue available if the activists wont allow public debate.

Pat from kerbob
Reply to  DMA
July 27, 2020 3:32 pm

I think the moment the suit is filed, all the companies named that do business in the jurisdiction should immediately cease operations

Preferably in January

Just once would be enough

Nick Graves
Reply to  DMA
July 28, 2020 2:29 am

That’s very much my take, too.

July 27, 2020 3:25 pm

Making deals with the devil never works. The devil never stops asking for more until there’s nothing left to give. If corporations don’t stop trying to placate and instead turn the tables and sue for legal cost damages this will never end. Class action anyone?

Mad Mac
July 27, 2020 3:29 pm

I have a friend who deliberately built a new house away from the Boulder city limits. He said they required solar panels. All in he claimed that he would wind up spending at least 100K more on a house in Boulder than where he built. He and his wife were long time Boulder residents.

Paul Seward
Reply to  Mad Mac
July 27, 2020 3:49 pm

Boulder County is not that much better. The larger the house, the more energy efficient it is required to be. Most new houses in Boulder County have to have solar panels to meet that efficiency level

Reply to  Paul Seward
July 27, 2020 4:13 pm

Shared/shifted compliance… out of sight and out of mind.

Lance Flake
Reply to  Mad Mac
July 27, 2020 4:11 pm

I left the city of Boulder for rural Boulder County 20 years ago. I had lived there for 12 years and watched it turn from an aging hippy college place into a town where the progressive trust-fund 1%’ers took over the government. They stifled dissent long ago. They’ve changed the federal government labs in town from actual practitioners of physical science to leaders in grant-sucking and publishing-for-prestige. They want to assuage their guilt by forcing everyone in town to play the holier-than-thou game just to survive. The Tesla-per-capita ratio of Boulder is off the charts, with the wealthy owners gladly taking as many subsidies as they can to show off their climate-loving bona fides.
They have use the climate crisis scam to get where they are so they can’t possibly back off now – damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!

Reply to  Lance Flake
July 27, 2020 5:10 pm

Don’t forget there is a homeless person at almost every street corner. Actually, I’ve seen far fewer these past few months. The homeless business has also taken a hit.

At least the students haven’t been around to riot. I still love Boulder but its Californification is quite sad.

Reply to  Lance Flake
July 28, 2020 9:22 am

I attended CU in the middle 70’s and that is where I got my engineering degree. They have a top notch engineering school.

While I was there they enacted a “slow-growth” measure to slow the influx newcomers. Poof! the cost of rent shot up. Basic economics if you’re not a progressive.

As a result, it cost me more to live and go to school in Boulder than if I were living in either Ft. Collins, Golden or Denver. CU is no longer a university that meets the needs of the children of it’s citizens. It is instead a university for the rich. And has been for a long time.

July 27, 2020 3:31 pm

It’s time to fire back, identify those who would shut down fossil fuel and do them a favour. Turn off their supply so that they can live the life that they would wish upon others.

Imagine the look on their face when their cars are denied service at fuel stations or the chill in their bones when the gas heating will not switch on. Electricity could be argued as being green, so let them have that, (via a smart meter), ensuring that it is switched off every night when there is no solar and no wind. Once they have their house in order it should be contingent upon them to change their employer to one that follows the same restrictions. Maybe employers could advertise their fossil fuel dependence so that these activists can determine who they could work for, I’m imagining a very short list, if any.

I’m tired of reading of the virtue signalling demanding that we waste our money propping up their ideals when they refuse to live the lifestyle that they demand others take. It’s past time to strike back, soon we’ll lose our ability to work domestically in productive industries.

Hypocrites need to be called out by those in the media and the corporate world. Anyone preaching for change should be required to show evidence of their own deeds first. Failure to call them out is as good as joining the protest.

Michael Jankowski
July 27, 2020 4:08 pm

I like how this dolt starts off saying it would be a lawsuit against “large fossil fuel emitters,” which I can only interpret to instead mean large greenhouse gas emitters. Then he says the starting point is a report on “fossil fuel producers.”

The city’s “chief sustainability and resilience officer” doesn’t know the difference between emission and production? Fossil fuels and greenhouse gases? Maybe they should hire someone with basic scientific literacy.

Lance Flake
Reply to  Michael Jankowski
July 27, 2020 4:12 pm

That would ruin their intentional obfuscation using “sciency” words like emission.

Reply to  Michael Jankowski
July 27, 2020 5:15 pm

Technically, I think that only God could be a fossil fuel producer or perhaps creator, as some would argue that extraction is a form of producing.

Reply to  Michael Jankowski
July 27, 2020 6:38 pm

“large fossil fuel emitters,”

Wouldn’t that be a well, before it is capped?

July 27, 2020 6:30 pm


Yet Trump takes office, and both sides of a criminal lawsuit can agree to suspend it for justifiable reasons, and the lawless judge keeps the sham going.

Weaponization is right.

If the last decade of Supreme Court rulings prove anything, it’s that trying to oppose judicial tyranny by winning elections and appointing judges is a dead end.

Power crazed judges are no more impartial and have have no more self control than the debt addicts in both parties in congress.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Ktm
July 27, 2020 8:19 pm

“Yet Trump takes office, and both sides of a criminal lawsuit can agree to suspend it for justifiable reasons, and the lawless judge keeps the sham going.”

I think General Flynn’s judge should be impeached and removed from Office for his injection of politics and his personal opinion into the Court.

Maybe if the Republicans win the House back and get a few more Senate votes in November, then this can be accomplished. I certainly wouldn’t want this judge hearing any case of mine. He obviously is not impartial.

The Republicans should also remove Chief Justice Roberts from the Supreme Court if they have the opportunity, as he obviously cannot read and understand the U.S. Constitution. He apparently does not understand what it means when the U.S. Constitution says in the First Amendment: “Congress shall make *no* law respecting an establishment of religion, or *prohibiting* the free exercise thereof;”.

And then Justice Roberts rules that churches cannot practice their religion the way they see fit by demanding they limit the number of people that can attend, thus “prohibiting” the free exercise thereof.

Roberts has voted twice to put limits on church congregations. He can’t be basing his decision on law because the U.S. Constitution says there can be no law written that prohibits the free exercise thereof, so Roberts has just made up a reason out of thin air. An impeachable offense in my opinion.

Andy Pattullo
July 27, 2020 8:15 pm

“The facts aren’t on our side, history is against us, most nations will ignore us and keep developing, people value their own best interests over ephemeral believes in climate Armageddon, our solutions for environmental problems seem to make everything worse and many of our storm troopers are jumping ship to join the side of reason, but have no fear, we still have frivolous litigation and big bucks from billionaire liberals who live fantasy lives to achieve our cause.”

Reply to  Neil Jones
July 28, 2020 12:39 am

UK gave us the same in Australia we have close to 200 who fall under the same category.

The number of ‘vexatious litigants’ in Australia
High Court 4
Federal Court 49
Family Court Data unavailable
New South Wales 43
Queensland 26
Western Australia 22
Victoria 21
South Australia 7
Northern Territory 1
Australian Capital Territory 0
Tasmania 0

July 28, 2020 12:40 am

In the article in WSJ opinion , dated 27Dec 2009 , several suits were mentioned involving power or oil/gas companies:-
Gulf coast residents following Katrina
Blumenthal and others on behalf of NYC residents against American electrical power
Native Alaskan village v oil companies for erosion (which actually might be reasonable)
I know the courts work slowly but that was 11years ago . How were the suits settled?
In other words: was this sort of tactic successful ?

Paxton Worth
July 28, 2020 4:51 am

Judges! It’s all about judges! A second term for the President will allow him to appoint hundreds more circuit and appellate judges, plus two or more additional Supreme Court justices. With their installation comes a fail-safe firewall that will essentially neuter any leftist judge ho thinks he’s going to singlehandedly make government policy.

Karl Juve
July 28, 2020 6:20 am

I am having a hard time finding which is the more reprehensible , the attorney that takes these cases or the Judges that allow them to proceed. They both should be disbarred!

July 28, 2020 10:28 am

In a chart of the largest emitters of CO2e (equivalent), the top 10 were all power companies and the US Federal Government. ExxonMobil, the largest oil company was way down the list, emitting about half or less what the government did, while producing energy emitted by others. Require the attorneys to sue the others, i.e., themselves.

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